fist of wind by nefertiti asanti
fist of wind is a lyrical testimony that centers the Black body as a site of healing and transformation. This chapbook/collection of poetry explores the lived experience of menstruation marked by pain and the liminal existence of Black folk as magical and mortal. fist of wind draws from magical realism to ask: If pain is information, what does individual and collective Black pain tell us about our world and about ourselves? How do we embody healing in this lifetime and beyond?
Nefertiti Asanti is the first winner of the Start A Riot! Chapbook Prize. In response to rapid gentrification and displacement of QTBIPOC+ literary artists in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in celebration of these communities’ revolutionary history, Foglifter Press, RADAR Productions, and Still Here San Francisco joined forces to create a chapbook prize for local emerging queer and trans Black writers, indigenous writers, and writers of color. Each year, one chapbook author is awarded publication, a $1,000 prize, and promotion, as well as a spot on RADAR’s Sister Spit tour.
Nefertiti Asanti is a poet born and raised in the Bronx and a recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Watering Hole, EmergeNYC, Lambda Literary, Anaphora Arts, Winter Tangerine, and the Hurston/Wright Foundation. Nefertiti is also a 2021 PEN America Emerging Voices fellow. Currently, Nefertiti serves as prose poetry editor of Stellium Literary Magazine.
"fist of wind is testimony to the violence of the medical-industrial complex and the long-term effects that neglect, classism, and gender-based biases have on Black community members. Written through stunning lyricism and melody, Nefertiti Asanti, as poet, as truth-teller, and as a relative whispers to those in the Black diaspora, "Do not keep your grief in a bag of your own skin," reminding us that we are worthy of protection, healing and community. An incredible intervention to the fields of disability poetics and LGBTQIA+ poetry, fist of wind, teaches us that disability justice is not about equality or recognition, but about building a future and a politic of care that doesn't leave anyone behind yet leaves room for people to "love every sin [they] dared to commit." Like Asanti's words read, this collection of poems make me want " . . . to stain / teacups, chipped & marked fragile when they are not really," in the hopes that perhaps, that staining is what gets Black disabled people heard and prioritized in our visions of liberation."
—Alan Pelaez Lopez, author of Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien
"From its very first line, Nefertiti Asanti’s fist of wind held me breathless. Asanti’s brilliant, urgent composition kept me spellbound as it layered the suffering of one human atop the injustice to the many—leaving me swirling in the afterglow of lamentation, affirmation, and prayer."
—Ryka Aoki, author of Light From Uncommon Stars
“fist of wind heralds a brave new syntax gleaming with unmuzzled viscera. In this work, the archive trills, bloodstained, breathing, and endogenous, to reckon with our gynecological foremothers. Nefertiti’s poetry dethrones meaning for music, flipping language to reveal its guttural underbelly and aural ritual. These poems are dazzling transgressions against bondage and biology itself.”
—Xandria Phillips, author of HULL
“Nefertiti Asanti’s fist of wind is unapologetically uterine. These poems bleed syntactically, beautifully, with rigor and risk that makes you exclaim. Asanti reckons with a legacy of misogynoir and antiblackness that dismisses the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain endured by Black menstrual bodies. Using her own challenges with PMDD, what’s so tenderly held in the palm of Asanti’s fist of wind are the questions: do we really care? Do our medical and political systems have a capacity to really care for Black folks who bleed? And because we haven’t figured that out yet, these poems prefigure our future.”
—Arisa White, author of Who’s Your Daddy?
Foglifter—created by and for LGBTQ+ writers and readers—aims to continue the San Francisco Bay Area’s tradition of groundbreaking queer and trans writing, with an emphasis on publishing those multi-marginalized (BIPOC, youth, elders, and people with disabilities). Our biannual journal features the widest possible range of forms, with an emphasis on transgressive, risky, challenging subject matter, innovative formal choices, and work that pushes the boundaries of what writing can do. By putting extraordinary queer and trans writers into conversation, we uplift a growing community of LGBTQ+ readers and writers and carve out space in the larger literary community for voices that have historically been silenced.