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Books for changing the world

E’mon Lauren’s poems take artifacts, language, and ephemera from life on Chicago’s Southside and Westside to create a manifesto of survival and growth. These poems from Chicago’s first Youth Poet Laureate grapple with sexism, racism, love, and class with a style that announces Lauren as a poet to watch.

Commando is an aesthetic stick up, hallelujahs in a handbag with a handgun. The first collection from the city's first youth poet laureate is a manifesto for a solider at war.

  • "Part morning affirmation, part clapback, E'mon's poems pay homage to the hood under her nose and the body in front of her mirror. Commando carves out a space for both to exist and be loved without fear, "someplace where we can just walk". —Jamila Woods, singer, songwriter and poet

    "Emon Lauren's Commando is a chapbook of admirable promise. Too often, if we hear about ourselves and our neighborhoods at all, the telling is secondhand and suspiciously motivated. Behold, in this book, a poet of our own. Watch her put her hands down into her home and pick up precisely what she wants to show us, and what we need to see. This is the beginning." —Nate Marshall, author of The Wild Hundreds