In 2017, Pallavi Dhawan and Tamika Thompson created artist collective POC United — an annual themed anthology that showcases multi-genre works by writers of color. While many people of color (POC) communities, both literary and otherwise, do the necessary work of fighting against an oppressive and dominant culture propped up by race, white supremacy, and their inherent privileges, we wanted our contribution to this struggle to be a literary safe space of creative play far removed from the white gaze. A place where POC can focus on one another in solidarity. A place where POC can build something together.
To create our inaugural anthology, we joined forces with poet and novelist Devi S. Laskar. We gave the contributors a special challenge: to write in a way that centers neither “whiteness” nor “anti-whiteness” and that is not limited by their struggle, their oppression, or how their characters will be received by the white imagination. The results are joyous and mind-expanding. Through poetry, short stories, and essays, the works in Graffiti expose lives that move in unexpected ways, rendering characters who don’t fit cultural tropes. Graffiti shows what writers of color do when we are invited to scribble, scrawl, romanticize, and speculate without being politicized or exoticized.
Advance praise for Graffiti:
“This stunning collection bursts with power, vision, and originality. Graffiti is a sampling of some of the most vital and exciting writers of color out there.” — Mark Sarvas, author of Memento Park
“Graffiti isn’t just a brilliantly composed collection, it is an absolutely essential one. I feel fundamentally changed after having read this powerful anthology.”— Alex Espinoza, author of Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime
“Graffiti springs forth like an anthem from a future, where, unaware of the white gaze and ethnic codification, people of color are one.” — Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us
Kudos to the editors for collecting work that is at once meaningful and playful. I hope this book will find its way into the hands of many readers. It just might transform them. Mashallah!” — Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of The Forest of Enchantments
The stories of Graffiti touch us all, no matter what color, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation. — Ian Randall Wilson, author of Hunger and Other Stories.
Purchase Graffiti here.