Chaun’s chapbook, Flight, is winner of the 2018 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize and is published through Tupelo Press.
Of the collection, poet, professor, and contest judge Major Jackson writes:
“The poems in Flight unspool a rich and charmed history of survival into songs that celebrate the miracle of endurance in a country defined by the peculiar phenomenon of race; many of the poems in this collection explore (or allude to) the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson with a brilliance that is underscored by the poet’s extraordinary sense of sound to etch a new reality in our ears. Here the poet employs the perennial powers of poetic forms (pantoum, ghazals, and sonnet, not to mention the Stevens imitation of 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird) to refresh staid conversations and to lyrically give voice to the good fortune of travel and language. Whether reveling in having reached middle-age or recalling that fateful day, September 11th, Flight issues its own battle cry and imaginatively addresses one of the great complexities of our time.”
“Chaun Ballard’s Flight finds innovative and brilliant pathways to step into the layered and complex voices surrounding the joys and perils of being black in America. These poems are daring and musical, as alive as the people they are speaking to.”