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Eyewear Publishing

Angel And Night's Youngest

Angel And Night's Youngest

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Angel and Night’s Youngest tells the story of the last male child of a blended Black family living in Chicago, Illinois. Through the backdrops of various cities, these poems explore Black masculinity and coming-of-age while navigating villains concealed on every city block and in predominantly White institutions of higher learning.  Refined personas, scenes, and characters impart double-edged knowledge as Lester's speakers experience life in the United States of America during the 1990s. Through sharply crafted lines and an authoritative tone, Lester's debut collection articulates a healthier way of dealing with generational trauma which affects so many individuals, especially those in communities of colour. 

Lester Batiste is a savage writer in living color who writes for political, social, economic change and Black futures. Born in Chicago, IL, he holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine's StoneCoast writing program, and an M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania. Influenced by Gwendolyn Brooks, Carl Sandburg, and Toni Morrison, Lester strives to weave traditional forms and techniques with the vibrancy of African American experience and speech. Rich details are enhanced by the musical tones from Lester’s childhood on the Southside of Chicago to his present on the Northside of Minneapolis. Lester's work has appeared in print in The Stone House Anthology (2014), the Southern Griot Journal (2012), Tulane Review (2017),  A Garden of Black Joy (2020), and digitally in the Brushfire Literary and Arts Journal (2020), Hidden Peak Press (2022), The Indianapolis Review (2023), and The Bitchin’ Kitsch (2023).

Part origin story, part familial portrait, all bittersweet love letter to Chicago's Southside, "Angel and Night's Younges" invites the reader into the vivid world of a speaker growing up in a nest of sisters, among boys "been streetenized and ain't never gone realize that the world is bigger than...two blocks." Batiste's distinctive music pulses through these ebullient, driving, big-hearted poems that hum and holler and grapple and grieve and "get loud because getting sad ain’t realistic where I’m from." A striking debut. - Michael Bazzett, author of The Echo Chamber

Lester Batiste’s Angel and Night’s Youngest takes readers on a Black man’s epic and political journey of abandonment, poverty, oppression, heartbreak, hip-hop, mental illness, addiction, first-love, death, beauty, self-harm, strength, grief, and resilience. These poems form a geographical grid of individual and collective human experience of what happens when “poetry is pain pricked that slowly leaks” into four culminating sections in which “Good Form” is the key that unlocks a vivid debut collection. This manuscript bears simultaneously, juxtaposed readings, meanings, experiences between the youngest angel, the speaker, and their readers. The voices, imagery, and stories of the “13” year-old going on “30” in the poems disrupt, intertwine and rewind backwards and spin forwards in time, space, and place like the steady rhythm of an unrelenting old school Chicago House Music mix without fear and unflinching favor. - Taiyon Coleman, Author of Traveling Without Moving
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