In their latest collection of poems, Cave Canem Poetry Prize winner Brionne Janae dives into the deep, unsettled waters of intimate partner violence, queerness, grief, and survival.
“I’ve decided I can’t trust anyone who uses darkness as a metaphor for what they fear,” poet Brionne Janae writes in this stunning new collection, in which the speaker navigates past and present traumas and interrogates familial and artistic lineages, queer relationships, positions of power, and community.
Because You Were Mine is an intimate look at love, loneliness, and what it costs to survive abuse at the hands of those meant to be “protectors.” In raw, confessional, image-heavy poems, Janae explores the aftershocks of the dangerous entanglement of love and possession in parent-child relationships. Through this difficult but necessary examination, the collection speaks on behalf of children who were left or harmed as a result of the failures of their parents, their states, and their gods.
Survivors, queer folks, and readers of poetry will find recognition and solace in these hard-wrought poems—poems that honor survivorship, queer love, parent wounds, trauma, and the complexities of familial blood.