Alumnus Cyrèe Jarelle Johnson ‘19 Loads ‘Slingshot’ With Beauty and Aims High

BY Rochelle Goldstein, October 22, 2019

“Fierce, sometimes chaotic” wrote Stephanie Burt of The New York Times about Slingshot, a poetry collection by alumnus Cyrèe Jarelle Johnson ’19, out from Nightboat Books. These poems that “present themselves as homemade weapons,” Burt wrote, “take aim against authority figures, racism, malign parents, deal with body degradation, violence and pellucid queer intimacies.” These poems have a such a strong energy force field, poets such as Dorothea Lasky called the book a “timeless lyric” with “language so deeply exquisite that it pierces through you.” 


Karla Strand, from Ms Magazine, wrote that Johnson’s poems “awaken you to the revolution that could finally bring the phoenix from the burning embers of society on the brink.”


Johnson, an essayist and a librarian as well as a poet, has had work appear in The New York Times, VICE, Rewire News, Boston Review, The Feminist Wire, and HuffPost, among others. They have also spoken at the White House for the 2016 Forum on LGBTQ and Disability Issues, as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, Tufts University, and Mother Bethel AME Church.  


Slingshot is available for purchase at