Cherene Sherrard’s Vixen is one of the most stunning debut collections of recent years. Historically resonant and urgently contemporary, Cherene Sherrard’s work interrogates the raw, shifting, and corrosive narratives of racial identity that her poems unravel in multiple cultural iterations. Her speakers are dazzling and her lines crackle with her powerful and incisive intelligence. Vixen is a book I keep returning to again and again for both its wisdom and its passionate dramatic brilliance.
DAVID ST. JOHN
Vixen is a sharp knife elegantly sheathed in velvet, leather, and lace. What I mean is: the language is precise and pointed; the poetry’s graceful forms contain superb surprises; and the lives that take shape in Cherene Sherrard’s skilled and generous hands are richly textured, gorgeously various. Every word a sensation, every line a hard-earned luxury: this book leads us away from safety into worlds that black women learn to navigate through vexatious, merciless experience. Follow Sherrard into vixen country and get versed in its ‘iridescent mayhem.’
How does a woman reimagine the world and cast herself anew in it? Vixen prompts such reconsideration—beginning with its title. How one feels and how one is pressured to feel frequently compete with one another. Sherrard gives voice to a much needed resistance. Her poems quietly amass their humor, affections and preoccupation with film, music, history—and the loveliest textures and colors. What a multifarious gathering of voices in this book. They don’t compete so much as question. We are all the better for hearing them.