Diamond Sharp’s Super Sad Black Girl is a love letter to her hometown of Chicago, where the speaker finds solace and community with her literary idols in hopes of answering the question: What does it look like when Black women are free?
Lorraine Hansberry and Gwendolyn Brooks appear throughout these poems, counseling the speaker as she navigates her own depression and exploratory questions about the “Other Side,” as do Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, and other Black women who have been murdered by police.
Sharp’s poetry is self-assured, playful, and imaginative, reminiscent of Langston Hughes with its precision and brevity. The book explores purgatorial, in-between spaces that the speaker occupies as she struggles to find a place and time where she can live safely and freely. With her skillful use of repetition, particularly in her series of concrete poems, lines and voices echo across the book so the reader, too, feels suspended within Sharp’s lyric moments. Super Sad Black Girl is a compassionate and ethereal depiction of mental illness from a promising and powerful poet.
“I’ve never read a collection of writing—poetry or otherwise—that spoke so clearly to what it feels like to live with a bipolar brain. Diamond Sharp has done what has often felt like the impossible: she has translated what so many of us have experienced into something so jaw droppingly familiar and achingly beautiful that you can’t escape the truth of it. More than just merely “feeling seen,” this collection made me feel heard and held and understood. Sharp is a master of her craft and this book is a testimony and a song.”
—Bassey Ikpi, author of I’m Telling the Truth but I’m Lying
“Deeply interior, alarmingly vivid, and full of dreamlike lyricism, this singular debut invites a reclamation of confessionalism for Black girls living—trying to live—today. Armed with Gwendolyn’s deceptive simplicity and some Henny and anchored by Sharp’s musical, crystalline voice and the subtle comedy of truth, Super Sad Black Girl is a wholly original collection that begs to be read, felt, and read again.”
—Morgan Parker, author of Magical Negro
“Diamond Sharp’s debut work offers the dazzling, taut simplicity of Lucille Clifton with a voice all her own. Here, the poet mines the interiority of a Black woman perpetually in flight while living with bipolar disorder, flitting smartly between mania, psychosis, stability, social exile and belonging. With Sharp’s stunningly controlled meditation on Black women’s abiding fugitivity while in conversation with Chicago luminaries Hansberry, Brooks, and Walker, as well as Black women slain at the hands of police, Super Sad Black Girl offers the notion that maybe the freest place for Black women is not a definitive physical plane but in the company of one another.”
—Erika Dickerson-Despenza, playwright, educator, and organizer
“Although Sharp has an extensive background in music criticism, there’s little doubt that poetry is her raison d’être. Her poems are funny, unpretentious, and profoundly self- accepting.”
—M.T. Richards, Chicago Magazine