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Jamii Books


Individual Author Books



Elisa grajeda-urmston    &    Tamara Adams

A siren's tantalizing whisper about road rage and romance; the lure and lilt of it, the need and necessity to create and devour the musical mystery thrills and throbs on these pages... read it and eat it with a greasy spoon in a neon diner at 3 AM in the afterglow of a boisterous gig somewhere in the middle of America. I dare you.

--Pamela DesBarres, author of I'm With the Band, and Take Another Little Piece of My Heart: A Groupie Grows Up.


In words and images as gritty and earthbound as they are iridescent and immutable, Elisa Grajeda-Urmston and Tamara Adams lay bare the reality at the heart of the making art dream. This is what hitting the road and creating for a living tastes and smells and feels like.  This is what doing that costs. This is why - if the magic is in you - you'll probably do it anyway.

--Glen Hirshberg, author of Good Girls, and Motherless Child


I find myself living in many sentences of these poems. They are reminders of where I've been, what I've felt and where I'm going and what I'm going to feel. Nowadays, the rocking of the bus wheels and the roar of the engine has been replaced by a high speed ceiling fan to help me sleep. The tour bus has been replaced with an RV, and my band has been exchanged for five dogs and a bird. I have no itinerary, just a lot of blue highways and a husband who is a rockin' guitarist. Elisa Grajeda-Urmston has written this book for the sisterhood of gypsies who rock.

--Jann Browne, American county singer; her albums are Tell Me Why and Bucking Around


Micah tasaka


Micah Tasaka’s debut poetry collection, Expansions, aches with a sense of honeyed tenderness, generosity, and a corporeal wisdom for the lost and for those suffering losses; for those forging their own mythologies; and for those who are learning that “[...] love is freedom / love is / watering the seeds / on the windowsill / and cheering / for every sprout / to reach onward / from the dirt / towards the sky.”  These poems are those leafy sprouts that expand with the big questions about faith, ritual, love, queerness, the soul and transformation.  Tasaka’s poems are also a healing balm of reverential kisses “for all we both / had to endure / sneaking through/ clipped fences / storm the / pearly gates and / ash on the / golden streets” and a veritable atomic bomb: “I will make a / mess of things / splintering even / the parts you thought were so sturdy.”  With lyric precision, explosive form, and a keen ear for music, Tasaka’s poems are not to be missed.

Rachelle Cruz, author of God’s Will for Monsters.


Micah Tasaka’s Expansions is a collection that interweaves style and song of both spoken word poet and healer. With poems that boldly confront intimate and queer narratives of trauma, loss, faith and heart break, Tasaka’s poems are prayers and incantations of mourning, shedding and cleansing— at times, the voice spirals into dreamscape, surrenders to the quietude of nature or reveals the raw vulnerability of tender pain, either way their poems fiercely seek agency, transformation and renewal.

Angela Peñaredondo, author of All Things Lose Thousands of Time.

The Lynching of Sarah Elizabeth

Ginger Galloway


A 2-Act Choreopoem drawn out of a list of what if' s. Taking what we have all come to know as the truth through an onslaught of media reports and courtroom transcriptions, what if we could see the same truths through the eyes of the bystanders? What if we could know the thoughts and the motives behind the people that witnessed one of the most horrific acts in our history, on a child, by a community of people, because of the color of his skin? What if there was one woman who determined in her mind not to stand by and watch, but to take a stand? What if she raised her voice in the dark corners of the deep south? What would people think? How would they react? What if?

"We grew up in Mississippi. 
Coexisting in an uncomfortable way. 
Our eyes spoke with glued lips
Things we dared not say on the walk down the road."

The Lynching of Sarah Elizabeth



Angela Peñaredondo

Angela Peñaredondo’s Maroon is intoxicating. Luscious image, wholly steeped in salty sensuality, simmering fervor deftly choreographed with dizzying divinations, all tied up with slipknot presages, memory, truth – this book is a sweet copper rum, rich and ready to quench. Maroon is music, resounding, resonant slake. Drink, drink deep.
–Allison Adele Hedge Coke, author of Streaming

"Welcome to Maroon -- a mysterious island of words that is also an imagistic firecracker continually exploding before our astonished, eyes. Angela Peñaredondo’s cast adrift speaker is at times an actor, a tourist, a bemused visitor to her (un)homeland(s) and a shipwrecked child remembering family lost and recovered through the acts of traveling and remembering. The ports of call on this circuitous journey range from Manila to Havana to Kansas City to Los Angeles and beyond. But we are never lost. As we read these gorgeous poems, we travel a complex transnational space with a witty, perceptive poet, who -- like a postmodern Virgil -- leads us across a terrain at once tragic and inspiring, where we find family resemblances in the faces of strangers. "
–Stephanie Barbé Hammer, author of The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior & How Formal?

The voice in this collection is irresistible: strong and lyric, tender and controlled: "I have not heard the rumble of monsoon in days / but if steam is to rise from this hot earth / then tumble, now is the time." I cannot wait to read more from this poet.
–Meg Day, author of Last Psalm at Sea Level

In her brilliant debut chapbook, Maroon, Angela Penaredondo writes, in an address to the sea, “I have fallen/ in love with a diver/ already dead. And you/ bring him to me?” As I read these poems, I kept thinking of Prufrock’s mermaids, his fear that they will not sing to him. In this lush, deeply inventive, musically alive collection, Penaredondo morphs into one of T.S. Eliot’s “sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown.” This is her gorgeous incantation before and after the drowning. Listen.
–Allison Benis White, author of Small Porcelain Headick here to edit.

The voice in this collection is irresistible: strong and lyric, tender and controlled: "I have not heard the rumble of monsoon in days / but if steam is to rise from this hot earth / then tumble, now is the time." I cannot wait to read more from this poet.
–Meg Day, author of Last Psalm at Sea Level



Listen to the Audio Below

Sirens in Her Belly

romaine washington

Washington’s book of poetry zeros in on the unique challenges women face in our modern world, and does it with unwavering strength.
- Bret Middleton, BET Editor's Must-Read Book for 2016

Romaine Washington's poetry is filled with images that are hot and cold, soft and hard. She pulls readers into her work with passion and determination as she draws on nature to illustrate her themes. Once we are in, we do not want to leave her poetic realm.
- Dr. Beverly V. Head, author of Walking North

Like an ocean’s shifting waters, Romaine's poetry gently laps at your psyche before bursting into strong waves—either stirring up nostalgic longing or repulsion at bad memories. Her stylishly clever way with words, rich in imagery, transforms common life settings into unique scenarios that promise to never fade.
-Yayoi L. Winfrey, Editor/Publisher, Brothers and Others: An anthology of Black women writing about Black men

Romaine Washington is a poet for our times. Her words evoke images that will linger in our minds long after the reading is done. Her poems are defibrillators of the soul - resuscitating our hearts to a world yearning for freedom.
- Ewuare S. Osayande, Editor Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander

[Like] Lucile Clifton… Romaine’s lyrical voice unmasks the hard truths of our human condition, particularly the oppression of women, through her unique use of diction, syntax, and extraordinary imagery, which engages the intellect and speaks to the souls of her readers
– Dr. Catherine Humphrey, IAWP UCR Fellow


Spider With Wings

cindy rinne

Cindy Rinne’s, spider with wings, extends a tender myriad of verse “which sing a siren’(s) coaxing.” In this intimate mosaic, Rinne declares “I cannot promise to be consistent with your soul.” The poems gently navigate the reader through heartfelt insights; a sagacious study enriched with “maplines,.. Galilean moons, a house of antlers.” Moment by moment these unique, precise lyrics leave us asking: “how did it happen…” as we witness the birth of a harmonious language, "another kind of human” empathy.
–Maureen Alsop, Ph.D. NCSP School Psychologist

The Natural World locked antlers with Human Intervention, and they really went at it. And before the dust settled and a winner was announced, Rinne scrambled into the fray, collected the images, and collaged taut, spare poems from them.
-Amy Pickworth author of Bigfoot for Women

Cindy’s poetry is both lyrical and imaginative, and recalls the rhythmic cadences of nomadic cultures.
-K. Andrew Turner, Author, Editor, Creative Mentor


Gathering the Waters

keisha-gaye anderson

A lyrical outpouring of kinship, heritage, and a woman's transformation within the world that envelops her. Gathering the Waters is a rich compendium of heartfelt poetic verse.

Keisha-Gaye Anderson is comfortable in the language and truth of her poems. Hers is a necessary voice for our times. These poems sing, dance, rumble and cry out like sweet thunder from the coral colored shore of her poetic terrain. I am in awe of these spirit vocals, these healing water sounds.
—Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, poet and author of Convincing The Body

Gathering the Waters is a potent book of poetry that can intoxicate your senses. Keisha wields her pen like a Samurai swordsman. Her poetry deals with the personal us, the intimate us, and the history of us. Keisha’s poetry takes you on a wonderfully exciting journey through the culture and beauty of being Black, with the promise of tomorrow.
—Abiodun Oyewole, The Last Poets





poets 7 allies.jpg

Ashaki Jackson
Conney Williams
Nikki Blak
Tommy Domino
Pam Ward
Jawanza Dumisani
Derek Brown
Kiyatana Sapp
Jennifer Thompson
Doug Kearney
C. Imani Williams

Poets & Allies for Resistance: 2015 Anthology

Khadijah Anderson (editor)

This anthology contains work by poets who participated in a monthly literary series (Poets & Allies) featuring two writers of color and an open mic that focuses on social justice issues. The series was formed in response to and support of the Black Lives Matter movement and had the first reading in December 2014 in Pasadena, CA.  



Verse/Chorus: A Call and Response Anthology

Verse/Chorus is a diverse collection of literature written in response to African American history. Coming out of a workshop tradition, this anthology features the work of 27 contributors who wrote poems, stories, and essays about and for African American historical figures. Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Langston Hughes, Son House, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marvin Gaye, and many other great men and women are celebrated in this volume as the contributors "respond" to their works, lives, loves, pain, and joy.

Listen to chorus singing, listen to them calling, and respond...