Poetry by LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs
February 7, 2023 • 6 x 8 • 112 pages • 978-1-56689-661-0
Part poetry collection, part soundscape, Village uses dark humor and keen observation to explore the roots of memory, grief, and estrangement.
In propulsive and formally inventive verse, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs examines how trauma reshapes lineage, language, and choice, disrupting attempts at reconciliation across generations. Questioning who is deemed worthy of public memorialization, Diggs raises new monuments, tears down classist tropes, offers detailed instructions for her own international funeral celebrations, and makes visible the hidden labors of care and place. From corners in Harlem through North Carolina back roads, Diggs complicates the concept of “survivor,” getting to the truth of living in the dystopia of poverty.
About the Author
A writer, vocalist and performance/sound artist, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of TwERK (Belladonna, 2013). Diggs has presented and performed at California Institute of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, The Museum of Modern Art, and Walker Art Center and at festivals including: Explore the North Festival, Leeuwarden, Netherlands; Hekayeh Festival, Abu Dhabi; International Poetry Festival of Copenhagen; Ocean Space, Venice; International Poetry Festival of Romania; Question of Will, Slovakia; Poesiefestival, Berlin; and the 2015 Venice Biennale. As an independent curator, artistic director, and producer, Diggs has presented events for BAMCafé, Black Rock Coalition, El Museo del Barrio, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and the David Rubenstein Atrium. Diggs has received a 2020 George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation Fellowship, a 2020 C.D. Wright Award for Poetry from the Foundation of Contemporary Art, a Whiting Award (2016) and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship (2015), as well as grants and fellowships from Cave Canem, Creative Capital, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, among others. She lives in Harlem and teaches part-time at Brooklyn College and Stetson University.
Praise for LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs
“WARNING: After reading TwERK, you may experience vibrant, dancing colors like when you close your eyes and stare at the crazy shifting shapes behind your eyelids. LaTasha’s brilliant poems vibrate me back to that unbridled youth of boundless madness, love and joy. TwERK testifies that LaTasha is not just a poet but an anthropological myth-making DJ whose words will have your imagination on the dance floor kicking it till your goosebumps start to sweat! This is a must-read for real for real! Oh, did I mention she speaks like 10 different languages?” —Charles Stone III, Drumline, Paid In Full, “Whassup?”
“This long-awaited compendium of works by LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs will blow your mind with its delirious play of signs, its cultural repurposings and reclaimings, its endlessly spinning polyglot wheel, and its breezy repertoire of ribald, faux-naif cyberfolk myth-science. With dazzling rigor and imagination, Ms. Diggs shares with us a view from Harlem that shines a knowing light on every place in the observable universe. To read these works is to feel the world in mid-transformation.” —Vijay Iyer
“Tweaking parallel languages, rebooting and putting them to (hard, hard) work, TwERK’s non-stop shimmy-shimmy embarks on an animé-iigjag idio-lingual-lectical booty-roll and doesn’t come down until the break of dawn. La Reina de Harlem responds to Lorca’s Big-Apple-opolis heteroglossia with her own inimitable animations, incantations and ululations, twisting tongues so mellifluously that you don’t even realize you’ve been dancing on Saturn with Sun Ra for hours and still could have begged for more. Welcome LaTasha Diggs: this is her many-splendored night out!” —Maria Damon
“From this time forward, TwERK, can refer to a collection of cultural coordinates of a radically transformed Americas. TwERK—is rare poetics, a vine enmeshed onyx slab of gypsum glyphs inscribed. Cut, swirly, and nervy, N. Diggs’ fractal-linguistic urban chronicles deftly snip away at the lingering fears of a fugitive English’s frisky explorations. In her first major work, N. Diggs doesn’t so much “find” culture as she conjures up the new emerging happy peoples herein. Five thousand updates—download now!” —Rodrigo Toscano
“Here it is: a dope jam of dictions; a remixed, multicultural, polyphonic dance of vocabularies; a language of high stakes, hi-jinx, and hybridity. TwERK is subversive, vulnerable, and volatile. TwERK twists tongues. TwERK tweaks speech. Reading these amazing poems mostly makes me say, Wow! Open your ears to take this music in, open your mouth to say it out loud. And: Wow!” —Terrance Hayes
“If the genre Black-American cosmopolitanism exists, Diggs is at the helm. Putting a new twist on an Ezra Pound-like gaze, Diggs approaches Black-American Orientalism with a coy wit and jovial approach that does not absolve – yet joyfully disarms both author and reader. Above all TwERK is a delightful celebration, word-play born out from the rigor that finally speaks our language (even if we don’t know it yet). I’ve been Twerked and contrary to my worst fears, my wife loves the results!” —Mike Ladd