‘No Crying in the Garden' by Alumna Michelle Dominique Burk '16 Out This Month

BY Rebecca Pinwei Tseng, October 12, 2021

No Crying in the Garden, the debut poetry collection by alumna Michelle Dominique Burk ’16, will be published by Barnes & Noble Press on October 15, 2021.


The collection is a semi-autobiographical account of Burk’s time in Washington D.C., Chicago, New York City, and Houston in her early adolescence and young adult years. Written across the span of almost ten years, No Crying in the Garden “traces the complicated relationship between fathers and their daughters, the frustrations inherent in being a young, Black woman in predominantly white spaces, racism in the South, and the magic of DJ Screw.”


Of the collection, writer and painter Clarence Major writes, "These are passionately rendered poems of self and other, poems of one’s relationship with one’s own body, poems of a young woman’s coming of age while searching for security and love in a world replete with uncertainty and danger. They compel you to read with empathy."


Alabama Poet Laureate Ashley M. Jones also praises No Crying in the Garden in a review: “It is possible to remake the stars, the galaxy, the way we understand God... Burk deftly depicts the complications and triumphs of family, love's destruction and its balm, and she looks behind the veil of what we've been given as God to see what lies beneath. These poems find light and the diamonds that reflect it.”

Michelle Dominique Burk went on to receive her PhD from the University of Houston's Literature & Creative Writing Program in May 2020. Her work deals with the intersections of Critical Race Studies and popular culture. Burk is the recipient of The 2019 Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Houston, a Narrative Magazine "30 Below" prize winner, and a 2021 Houston Poet Laureate Finalist. Her poems and essays have appeared in many publications including Narrative Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Literary Hub. She is currently working on a socio-cultural archival project called the Gentle Blackness Project which seeks to capture and showcase the beauty, grace, and excellence of African-American history.


No Crying in the Garden is now available for preorder.