Deonte Osayande

What happens when love becomes a show?

Circus puts love on display for the whole world to gawk at. Life is a bizarre circus, from personal relationships to the political sphere. It is beautiful, and tragic, and chaotic, made up of a million silent moments. Deonte Osayande brings the rhythm and intensity of his slam poetry to his second full-length collection. His poetry addresses love and loss, race and family, politics and life in America.

Which act will hold your attention?

Advance Praise for Circus

“Deonte Osayande's Circus is a book of mythic power and sensational heft—the poems here demand your attention and earn it through imaginative leaps and turns that keep you guessing and reading, wanting the next poem and the news. The beauty of this book is its ability to engage us over the rough and enticing terrain that is art and beauty, transformed through grief and the tightrope act of being black in America. It's a fabulous collection, one that takes on gravity and tames it, lighting burdens on fire with its powerful storytelling.”

—Allison Joseph, author of Confessions of a Barefaced Woman

“Deonte Osayande is not only a fire breather in life’s circus but a firebrand burning his words down to ashes so that they rise as the fabled phoenix to inspire us to carry on even in the most political dark times. He is an arsonist tossing our assumptions, our misconceptions, our biases, our fears, our prejudice, and our personal relationships, into the incendiary furnaces of his poems, not to destroy but transform our lives. As Wallace Stevens wrote, So in me come flinging forms, flames, and the flakes of flames, and so Osayande does the same in his book Circus: My ashtray mouth burns/. . . . Without hell fire in my mouth/my faith stays frozen, forgotten. Each of us becomes the clown, the juggler, the tightrope walker, the animal tamer, in the three-ring circus of our lives under this ragged big top of culture and society. We should all want a ticket to Osayande’s Circus.”

─Walter Bargen, First Poet Laureate of Missouri, author of Too Quick for the Living

“We don’t define love, life, and our relationships; we live them. In their purest forms they are uniquely individual and their own . . . they unite both author and reader. . . . Circus is an enjoyable and interesting literary experience.”

—Lorraine Currelley, The Compulsive Reader

About the Author

Deonte Osayande is a writer from Detroit, Michigan. His nonfiction and poetry have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, New Poetry from the Midwest, and the Pushcart Prize. He has represented Detroit at multiple National Poetry Slam competitions. He's currently a professor of English at Wayne County Community College. His books include Class (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2017) and the forthcoming Circus (Brick Mantel Books, 2018).