By KB Brookins
Winner of the 2024 Stonewall Barbara Gittings Literature Award
Freedom House is a poetry collection that explores internal, interpersonal, and systemic freedom.
Publication Date: 6/6/23
In this debut full-length collection, KB Brookins’ formally diverse, music-influenced poetry explores transness, politics of the body, gentrification, sexual violence, climate change, masculinity, and afrofuturism while chronicling their transition and walking readers through different “rooms”. The speaker isn’t afraid to call themselves out while also bending time, displaying the terror of being Black/queer/trans in Texas, and more — all while using humor and craft.
What does freedom look like? What can we learn from nature and our past? How do you reintroduce yourself in a world that refuses queerness? How can we use poetry as a tool in the toolbox that helps build freedom? This collection explores those questions, and manifests a world where Black, queer, and trans people get to live.
KB Brookins is a Black, queer, and trans writer and cultural worker from Texas. Their chapbook How To Identify Yourself with a Wound (Kallisto Gaia Press, 2022) won the Saguaro Poetry Prize. KB’s poems and essays are published in Poets.org, Huffington Post, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. They have earned fellowships from PEN America, Civil Rights Corps, and Lambda Literary among others. KB's debut memoir PRETTY (Alfred A. Knopf) will arrive in 2024, and they are a 2023 National Endowment of the Arts fellow. Follow KB online at @earthtokb.
"Brookins’ debut full-length collection explores what it really means to be free in America, particularly as a Black, queer, trans writer living in Texas; their writing style is urgent and timely while still holding space for the possibility of a life lived on one’s own terms." —Emma Specter, Vogue
"KB Brookins’ Freedom House is an unapologetic, forward-dreaming manifesto for a better, shared future." —Chaney Hill, Southern Review of Books
"In their full-length debut, Brookins interrogates what it means to be free — in America, in a Black trans body, as a queer person living in Texas. In angry, piercing poems, full of bold imagery and chilling line breaks, they explore American politics, queer masculinity, and the strangeness and magic of transition. This inventive collection is an astonishing achievement; Brookins’s poems range from long lyrical verses to gutting erasure poems, and everyone is breathtaking." —Laura Sackton, Buzzfeed
"KB's Freedom House is a book of optimism and transformation, though not easily...KB is a poet who is sharply attuned to the racial, environmental, social, and economic manifestations of systemic injustice, and politics they critique in themselves just as sharply...[S]uch realizations are triumphs put alongside the joy found throughout Freedom House. For every daunting item, there's a confident and brighter speculation to smile about and hold close." —Dustin Pearson, author of A Season in Hell with Rimbaud
"Believable, rich, and truthful. A real beacon of light." —Shayla Lawson, author of This is Major a National Book Critic's Circle Finalist