Past Issue: Malika Booker


Winter 2023 | Malika Booker | Vol. 6, Iss. 3

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Welcome to The Fight & The Fiddle, a publication of the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University. Each issue gives you a 360-degree view of a Black poet, including an interview, new poems, a critical essay, and a writing prompt inspired by our featured poet.


Malika Booker is a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, a British poet of Guyanese and Grenadian Parentage, and co-founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen (A writer’s collective). The anthology Two Young, Two Black, Too Different: Poems from Malika’s Poetry Kitchen was recently published to celebrate Malika Poetry Kitchen’s twenty-year anniversary. Her pamphlet Breadfruit, (flippedeye, 2007) received a Poetry Society recommendation and her poetry collection Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre 2014 prize for first full collection. She is published with the poets Sharon Olds and Warsan Shire in The Penguin Modern Poet Series 3: Your Family: Your Body (2017). Booker and Shara McCallum recently co-edited the issue of Stand Journal curating an anthology of poems by African American, Black British, & Caribbean Women & Identifying Writers. Booker currently hosts and curates Peepal Tree Press’s Literary podcast, New Caribbean Voices. A Cave Canem Fellow, and inaugural Poet in Residence at The Royal Shakespeare Company, Malika was awarded the Cholmondeley Award (2019) for outstanding contribution to poetry and elected a Royal Society of Literature Fellow (2022). Her poem “The Little Miracles,” commissioned by and published in Magma 75 (autumn 2019) won The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (2020).

    • Interview: Malika Booker talks with The Fight & The Fiddle editor-in-chief, Lauren K. Alleyne about belonging, placemaking and community, and of course, poetry.
    • Critical Essay: Dr. Keisha Allan’s essay “More than our Pain: Black Women’s Narratives of Resistance in Malika Booker’s Pepper Seed,  examines how Booker configures the Black female body as a simultaneous site of trauma and resistance in her collection of poems.
    • Poems: Read “Abraham on the Night Before the Sacrifice,” and “My Ghost in the Witness Stand,” by Malika Booker.
    • Writing PromptBiblical Backtalk: Bring the Bible to your world!
Malika Booker reads “Golden Grove”

Photo by Joaquin Sosa
Cover Design by Robert Mott