"I was an orchard of forgiveness."
from Menace



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Publishers Weekly
"Verlee...hold[s] past predators accountable amid a withering critique of toxic masculinity...and her depiction of the cycle of abuse is as illuminating as it is unsettling."



“The scripture of the unkillable woman is to conjure and to resurrect and to stare into the abyss of memory and say, Unspell me. Unspell me.” 
         —Dominique Christina

“I learned very early which of my parts were most desirable. My mouth, my tongue—the least sought after on the list. Too much bite-back, too much venom...” 
         —Mahogany L. Browne

“I am my safe space.” 
         —Syreeta McFadden

“This time, the world serves you: gargle the whole ocean, unplug the sun, reinvent the goddamn clay that carved you, merciful god that you are.” 
         —Angel Nafis

“Here we have pure courage and craft…This book, in many ways, becomes an elegy to the selves, and an ode to fought-for sight.”
         —Aracelis Girmay, author of Teeth and Kingdom Animalia

“Say it again: Gotdamn!”
        —John Murillo, author of Up Jump the Boogie

“In her second collection, Jeanann Verlee continues her searing exploration of the body as a place of danger and impossible resilience…[she] knows that the act of writing is never removed from the act of living in a world bent on extinguishing its most vital voices. As such, this is poetry at its most urgent and courageous calibers.”
         —Ocean Vuong, author of Night Sky with Exit Wound

“Verlee’s genius is that whatever formal pattern the poem demands, the wild excess never lets up, such that even the poems that seem formally tidy on the page seem likely to run amuck. An unsettling, riveting read.”
            —Janet McAdams, editor, Kenyon Review

"Startlingly original."
            —Adam Falkner, author of Adoption and Ten for Faheem

“Fierce and formidable, Jeanann Verlee is poised to make an indelible mark – much like a razor slashing silk – on what's become a comfortably placid poetic landscape. Her unflinching and uncompromising stanzas will change the way you move through the world.”
         —Patricia Smith, author of the recent collections, Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, Blood Dazzler, and Teahouse of the Almighty 

“Besides writhing with racket and heart and wisdom, these poems bear witness to our real, difficult lives. They neither turn away, nor suggest grace isn’t part of the story. No. They sing of the real in its ugly and glory. This is an honest book, and we are lucky to have it.”
         —Ross Gay, author of Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Bringing the Shovel Down, and Against Which

“If risk is the main ingredient of a true masterpiece then Verlee's Racing Hummingbirds claims the title of masterpiece countless times with both poise & puncture, poem after poem in this stampede of a debut collection...I want to become a teacher just so I can make this required reading. I want to anonymously mail copies of it to anyone I've ever wanted to kiss. I want to wallpaper my bedroom with the pages of this book.” 
        —Angel Nafis, author of Black Girl Mansion

“Best thing I've read this year.”
        —Aseel Bashraheel, reader, Goodreads