A Shiver in the Leaves
Nestled against the backdrop of Seattle's flora, fauna, and cityscape, Luther Hughes' debut poetry collection wrestles with the interior and exterior symbiosis of a gay Black man finding refuge from the threat of depression and death through love and desire. Hughes draws readers into a Seattle that is heavily entrenched in violent anti-Blackness, and full of vulnerable and personal encounters from both the speaker's past and present. With reverent and careful imagery, Hughes fashions deeply saturated, tender vignettes that reckon relationships between family and friends, lovers, nature, and the police-state. A Shiver in the Leaves is stunningly cinematic in its layered portrayal of the never-ending dualities of a queer Black poet's life in the city. Hughes's interrogation of selfhood renders a sharply intimate and viscerally powerful reimagining of what it means to be alive in a body, and what it can mean to live .