“original kink”: Poetry In The Black Queer Experience

original kinkJubi Arriola-Headley; Photo: Paulo Arriola-Headley

The Work, In original kink, Investigates Vulnerability, Masculinity in the Black LGBTQ+ Experience

NEW YORK—original kink addresses the stereotype of the Black man as rage-filled, fearful, and hyper-masculine. It takes on the stereotype of the Queer man as sensual, vulnerable, and feminine. It is at the intersection of these two interrogations of Black and Queer identity that Jubi Arriola-Headley flourishes.

“[This is not] a white space,” Arriola-Headley writes, using literal blank spaces within his own anthology to symbolize the blatant reality of Black erasure in the United States.

In intertwining the complex theme of Black identity with current political issues such as anti-racism and Black Lives Matter, Arriola-Headley pays tribute to influential Black activists and cultural figures. He dedicates his poems to AIDS activist Craig G. Harris, 1968 Olympians and protesters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, and the long list of unarmed Black individuals killed at the hands of the police.

Perhaps the most powerful moments in this collection come when Black and Queer experiences intersect. Arriola-Headley divulges his own experience as a Queer man through explicit and provocative explorations of the Black body.

original kink

“Here’s how you loved Him: you couldn’t think of Him without a capital H,” Arriola-Headley reminisces in the poem “Puppy Love.” Through blunt, honest prose, he is able to convey the raw, earnest power of queer love. His poetry explores themes of sexual obligation, first and last loves, and even includes a step-by-step guide to loving your in-laws.

By presenting a dimensional and intersectional collection of contemporary poetry, Arriola-Headley’s original kink serves as a much-needed reflection on being a Black Queer man in the socio-political climate of 2020.


About Jubi Arriola-Headley

Jubi Arriola-Headley (he/him) is a Black queer poet, storyteller, and first-generation United Statesian who lives with his husband in South Florida and whose work explores themes of manhood, vulnerability, rage, tenderness, and joy. He’s a 2018 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, and his work has been published in Ambit, Beloit Poetry Journal, Nimrod, Southeastern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. His first collection of poems, original kink, is available now through Sibling Rivalry Press.

[From A News Release]


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