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ISBN: 978-1-62557-050-5
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Categories Poetry

American Scapegoat

Publication Date: May 2023


American Scapegoat is a book of painstakingly honest and chilling poems about America’s neglectful relationship with its own history. At the core of this reluctance to frame the past in its proper context is the fraudulent and fraught mythology that Black people are what America needs to be protected from. This extremely damaging narrative has been prominently embedded within the socio-political framework of American culture and continues to play an inescapably significant role in the Black experience in America. This timely collection looks both to the past and the future, and fosters a deeply essential conversation about what it means to be Black and American in a democracy at war with itself and its humanity.


In America, choice’s always an illusion. And it always comes back to having to answer questions for which my body is never prepared.

Through his own distinctive path, Enzo Silon Surin bears witness to the complexities of the Black experience in America. These poems examine the hard edges and paradoxes as a way of illuminating them as he grapples with violence, injustice, masculinity, intimacy, and fatherhood. How does one locate themselves in this American landscape? American Scapegoat is a remarkable testament to the power of language, marked with intensity, radiance, and hope.

—January Gill O’Neil

The poems in American Scapegoat are not for the faint of heart. Wrapped masterfully in poetry’s artful tongue, they do not seek absolution nor do they apologize as the collection indicts American racism and its bloated, systemic injustices. Heightening the reader’s experience with a surgically precise interrogation of form in poems like “American Lexicon,” “Prelude,” and “American Witness,” Enzo Silon Surin writes against our fears and shines bright the hope we dare have for our sons.
—Frank X Walker

About the Author

Enzo Silon Surin

Enzo Silon Surin is an award-winning Haitian-born poet, educator, publisher, and social advocate. He is the author of three previous collections of poetry, including When My Body Was A Clinched Fist (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), winner of the 21st Annual Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry. He is co-editor of Where We Stand: Poems of Black Resilience (Cherry Castle Publishing, 2022), and the recipient of a Brother Thomas Fellowship from the Boston Foundation, a PEN New England Discovery Award (Celebrated New Voice in Poetry) and a 2020 Denis Diderot Grant as an Artist-in-Residence at Chateau d’Orquevaux in France. Their fourth collection of poems, American Scapegoat, is forthcoming in the summer of 2023 from Black Lawrence Press. Surin’s work gives voice to experiences that take place in what he calls “broken spaces” and has been featured in numerous publications including by the Poetry Foundation, in Poem-a-Day by the Academy of American Poets. Their librettos have been commissioned by the Boston Opera Collaborative for a project titled “Love in the Time of…”, which is based on the Robert Schumann’s masterpiece song cycle Dichterliebe, and their 10-minute play “Last Train” was adapted as a 10-minute opera and is scheduled for production in 2023. Surin teaches creative writing and literature at Bunker Hill Community College and is also Founding Editor and Publisher at Central Square Press and Founder/Executive Director at the Faraday Publishing Company, Inc., a nonprofit literary services and social advocacy organization.

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