Cynthia Manick

Poet and Storyteller

Cynthia Manick - Poet and Storyteller

Author of Blue Hallelujahs, Curator of Soul Sister Revue, and East Coast Editor of Jamii Publishing

Things I Carry Into The World - Poem and Short Film

I’m so pleased to announce a partnership with Motionpoems and Cave Canem has led to poems in unexpected places. When the call came to apply for my poem to become a film, I thought it was a shot in the dark. So I applied, put it behind me, and left it to the fates. Then fate answered in the form of a film for “Things I Carry Into the World” by filmmakers Pat Heyward and Jamil McGinnis and producer Claire Mc Girr.  In the poem, the feminine body is center of the elements and the film embodies this and more. The film premiered at the Walker Art Center in MN, and most recently on the global channel Nowness.

Poetry Consultations w/ Cynthia Manick

During the month of October, Black Lawrence Press poet Cynthia Manick is offering consultations on poetry collections and folios. The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is October 31. Cynthia will complete her work and respond to all program participants by November 30.

Read Cynthia Manick's Statement of Purpose

When reading individual poems I look for the creative spark first. I’m most drawn to poems that inform the reader; the word or line that pulls me into the poem or represents a change in thinking. For me that’s the moment when the poem takes flight. I believe poems should introduce questions, issues, characters, and images; and poets should use all the tools in their toolbox. In the same vein, good poems can reflect conflict and celebrate joy; each represents parts of the human experience. I always think of the poet CD Wright saying “you have deer here, but give me venison” meaning don’t shy away from details that enrich the work. Every poet has a unique voice and I enjoy discovering that voice in the work.

"A Taste of Blue" Published by The Academy of American Poets

Poem "A Taste of Blue" featured in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series. The release includes a history of the poem and an audio recording.


I tell my father about the way
I collect small things
in the sacs of my heart—

thick juniper berries
apple cores that retain their shape
and the click of shells
that sound like an oven baking. . . . . . . .

On Name Calling, Poetic Partners-in-Crime, and the Blues

Recent graduates of the Poets House Emerging Writing Fellowship sat down to talk new books, debut poetry collection Blue Hallelujahs by Cynthia Manick and debut chapbook One Day We Become Whites by Chialun Chang. The conversation touched on the editing process, racial identity, spaces to breathe, and poetry partners-n-crime. See full interview here

Where Can I Purchase Blue Hallelujahs?

Black Lawrence Press             

Small Press Distribution       

Barnes and Nobles


Books Can Also Be Purchased At These Independent Bookstores -

             Berl's Poetry Shop Brooklyn, NY

             WORD Bookstore Brooklyn, NY

             McNally Jackson New York, NY

             The Strand, New York, NY

             Open Books: A Poem Emporium Seattle, WA

             Malvern Books Austin, TX

             Bookwoman Austin, TX

             Sun Dog Books Santa Rosa Beach, FL

             Green Apple Books  San Francisco, CA     

             Charis Book Atlanta, GA

             Skylight Books Los Angeles, CA

             Ada Books Providence, RI

             Upshur Street Books Washington, DC


Find it on Goodreads 

Blue Hallelujahs Open for Pre-Orders


The speaker of Cynthia Manick’s haunted debut collection admits “a love for surgery porn at 1 a.m.” And one early poem begins, “Today I am elbow deep/in some animal’s belly//pulling out the heart and stomach/for my mother’s table.” Throughout, Blue Hallelujahs approaches aspects of a woman’s development—from “feet first” Caesarean delivery to a grandmother’s admonition “to pull flesh/from the throat not the belly”—blade at the ready, moving from slaughter to surgery to a kind of deep southern haruspication. At the center of girlhood we find The Shop with its inventory of inherited hungers. “Is this what the heart eats?” Manick renders visceral a longing to avoid extinction, to escape the museum, to live fully embodying one’s identity as a woman who “knows/ how to wield a knife.”
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, author of Open Interval, a 2009 National Book Award Finalist

"What we remember is what we become. Rocking chairs holding mothers and "animals that root the ground for peaches, bones and stars." In Blue Hallelujahs Cynthia Manick holds fast to what brought us across. These are not the things you will hear about Black people on the nightly news. But they remain the things that lock the arms of Black people around Black people when we need what we need to keep moving on. I am so grateful to this sweet box of sacred words."

Nikky Finney, Author of Head Off & Split, Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry

Cynthia Manick's Blue Hallelujahs bring us to a broil like Koko Taylor's "white-toothed love coils on repeat." Here, we have a gospel of womanly sharpness, a kitchen sinked and hot combed diary of the way Blues grinds into the 21st century. Gifted with the ability to smolder into surprise and swelter, Manick's reflections on discovery and loss will bring you to a "slow applause under the skin." Thank you for this bouquet of sheet music filled with church organ and pistol smoke, Ms. Manick. We gone need it to get to the other side.
Tyehimba Jess, author of leadbelly, winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series

Purchase Here or at SPD