Welcome, Lyn Patterson!

This month we are celebrating the titles that we’ve acquired over the past twelve months. Some of them, like the one we’re pleased to present today, came to us by way of Nomadic Press. Read more about our plans to welcome Nomadic Press titles to Black Lawrence Press here. Today we bring you Lyn Patterson, whose forthcoming book The Postcards I Never Sent will be published late this year.

Have a manuscript you think we’d like? During our June Open Reading Period we are looking for poetry (chapbooks and full-length collections), short fiction (again, both chapbooks and full-length collections), novels, novellas, nonfiction (CNF, biography, cultural studies), anthology proposals, and translations from German. 



The Author

Lyn Patterson is a storyteller and book art MFA student who lives in Oakland, CA. She is a deeply invigorated poet, specifically inspired to write about Black diaspora and those who have been systematically marginalized in society as a means of empowering future generations with their stories. For Patterson, storytelling is a sacred ancestral endeavor which can be used as a tool for paying homage and building future communities. Patterson often uses visual mediums to encapsulate her words and elevate the ways in which texts exist in conversation with one another. Her work has been published in Popshot Magazine and on KQED.




On Writing The Postcards I Never Sent

My goal as an author is to tell necessary stories of Black existence, unapologetically, with both nuance and simplicity. For far too long, mainstream Black storytelling has centered around the narrative of struggle and resistance. But while these aspects of Black culture have become salient parts of my identity, woven through my family history, it becomes most interesting when readers are able to see how my identity impacts real human experiences we all relate to. In working towards my goal of creating such works of art, I began piecing together the poems of this book, when I began traveling full time. As I bounced from place to place, sleeping on friends’ couches, I was able to capture the gradations and peculiarities of everyday life.  As I adventured, I observed people intently, tracked my ancestry, collecting family folklore along the way, and witnessed breath-taking landscapes. I wrote these poems either as fragments jotted urgently in my travel journal or as free writes scribbled on napkin scraps.

This book is full of quiet transformations and as humans, we are inspired by stories of change and metamorphosis. There’s no greater symbol of this than the lowly, crawling caterpillar that evolves into the majestic, soaring butterfly. But, to me, the most important part of the story happens during the in-between, quiescent, transformative stage. Oftentimes, when we experience these all-important growth stages, we don’t have the right words to move through them. Many of us stay silent, which can cause us to suffer alone. To me, the most compelling storytellers capture these pivotal points when we are broken down to our primordial state and on the cusp of personal revolutions.  I wrote this book as a reminder that our deepest most personal stories have the power to guide us as we persevere through our own silent metamorphoses.



Selections from The Postcards I Never Sent