Douglas Kearney's first full-length collection of poems, Fear, Some, was published in 2006 by Red Hen Press. His second manuscript, The Black Automaton, was chosen by Catherine Wagner for the National Poetry Series and published by Fence Books in 2009. It was also a finalist for the Pen Center USA Award in 2010. His chapbook-as-broadsides-as-LP, Quantum Spit, wasreleased by Corollary Press in 2010,He has received a Whiting Writers Award, a Coat Hanger award and fellowships at Idyllwild and Cave Canem. Kearney has performed his poetry at the Public Theatre, the Orpheum, The World Stage and others. His poems have appeared in journals such as Callaloo, jubilat, Ploughshares, nocturnes, Ninth Letter, miPoesias, Southampton Review, Washington Square and Tidal Basin Review. He has been commissioned to compose poetry in response to art by the Weisman Museum in the Twin Cities, the Studio Museum in Harlem, FOCA and SFMOMA. Performances of Kearney’s libretti have been featured in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Europe. Born in Brooklyn, he lives with his family in California's San Fernando Valley. He teaches at CalArts.


All three poems are from The Black Automaton 

Tallahatchie LullaBye, Baby

cattail cast tattles Till tale,
lowing low along the hollow.
crickets chirrup and ribbits lick-up.
what’s chucked the ’hatchie swallow.

skin scow skiffs upon pond scum skin
going slow along the hollow.
now may mayfly alight brown brow.
what’s chucked the ’hatchie swallow.

maybe bye baby bye baby by and by—
lowing low along the hollow—
we will slip the knot not slip will we?
what’s chucked the ’hatchie swallow.

who’s a bruise to blue hue ’hatchie,
going slow along the hollow?
who’s a bruise to whose hue, ’hatchie?
what’s chucked the ’hatchie swallow.
Kodak flash tattles Till tale
going slow among the hollow.
who’s a bruise to bruise hue?
swallow what the ’hatchie chucks.

 —Emmett Till (1941–1955)

floodsong 3: alligator’s QUIET STORM

’Trina she my long leg woman.
my long leg woman she love me.
she love me and she pour the water.
she pour the water o my ’Trina.

’Trina she my hot blooded woman.
hot bloody: she love me!
she love me. sh’eat my kettle,
heat my kettle, o——my ’Trina!

’Trina she strong arm woeman.
stwrong woman, she love me!
love me and set the table.
uh set the table, o my ’Trina.

’Trina she my good hand woman—
my good hard woman. love me!
she love me and serve up suppers,
she serve me. o! my! ’Trina.

’Trina: she muh big eye wmmman,
me big eyed wooo, man! she love me!
she love me. she give me seconds.
give me seconds! o my

Douglas Kearney



2011 Douglas Kearney

  MOONDAY HOME PAGE (Current Features)  
MOONDAY (Previous Features)  
                             MOONDAY (Upcoming Features)