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Praise for How to Survive the Apocalypse

About the Book
In the great American tradition of how-to manuals, we now have Jacqueline Allen Trimble’s How to Survive the Apocalypse, a fast-moving meditation on what plagues us in our cities, our homes, and our relationships, especially the racial relationships that a black woman, with black children, in Montgomery, Alabama, has navigated. Trimble begins with family history and then detonates her way to the present moment. Read these poems and be convinced that the social apocalypse is upon us and is not going away. But there is a survival switch to be thrown—poetry at every turn that will not let go of shattering memories but will remake us if we allow the transformation. Trimble gazes straight into our eyes, challenges us to heed the warning truth, and skiddley-does down the street, saying follow me! Read this book — for your own sake!
How to Survive the Apocalypse has a lot of spark. It has a jazz quality. Or, more specifically, it speaks to what Art Blakey observed: 'Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.'
What is a poem but a prayer? A sermon in verse, writ large and clear and Black for all to see? Black poets have always told the truth with God in one hand and blood in the other, and Jacqueline Trimble sits squarely in that tradition with How to Survive the Apocalypse. Her poems, which come from the gut, which come from the throat, which come from the beating heart of a Black woman making meaning out of the soured meal of America, are a wonder to behold. This book has no time for tea-party pleasantries or the curling of a politician's, or legal document's, or colonizer's tongue. It is a book of urgency and ultimatum—get on board, or get behind us.
If you haven’t lived through trials and tribulations, baby,” the old folks would say, “just keepa living.” Jackie Trimble’s volume is about life and living. It is a personal, familial, communal, and ancestral testimonial swathed in joy and righteous indignation. These poems reveal the souls of Black folks ignited, renewed, and persisting in the face of injustice. Trimble’s words, images, and rhythms constitute a feast of uplift. And no matter whether they are served grilled, barbecued, baked or broiled, they are recipies for life, giving us new reasons to keep on living.
Dear reader, in How to Survive the Apocalypse you will be lyrically captivated by Jacqueline Trimble, who reminds us what it means to “poet” in the twenty-first century. Not since Carolyn Rogers have we heard a voice this bold buttressed by poetic craft. It’s all here, the energy and excitement of black idiom reimagined as contemporary art — teaching/rappin, duh wah, spaced/spiritual, signifying, coversoff—the beautiful defiance of a balled fist disguised as love. How to Survive the Apocalypse is so damn good it’ll make you cry, not just because of some innate sadness in the words, but because these are bomb-poems, exquisite poems with teeth, cutting through the fat meat straight to the bone. Trimble aims straight at the heart of American life, and in her beautiful poetic critique hits the bullseye.
Jacqueline Trimble’s How to Survive the Apocalypse is a delicate kind of magic. This is a book that revels in a present and a future so rooted in history that it rhymes. Trimble’s poems and stories remind us that apocalypse, for many of us, has been our primary inheritance. This is a collection that sings of all Black folks have endured in this country, not simply as a celebration of that endurance but as a righteous rejection of its continued necessity. I am so thankful for this collection.
In How to Survive the Apocalypse, Jacqueline Trimble has crafted a powerful, clear-eyed guidebook for navigating the world. By turns witty and wry, these sharply observed poems ask us to consider the thin veil between past and present, between memory and truth. “Do you see how we survived?” asks Trimble in “The Fire Shut Up in My Bones.” These remarkable poems tell us and teach us. An extraordinary book.