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Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat by Khalisa Rae

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Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat by Khalisa Rae

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What happens when a Midwestern girl migrates to a haunted Southern town, whose river is a graveyard, whose streets bear the names of Southern slave owners? How can she build a home where Confederate symbols strategically stand in the center of town? Can she sage the chilling truths of her ancestors? What will she do to cope with the traumatizing ghostliness of the present-day South?

Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat is a heart-wrenching reconciliation and confrontation of the living, breathing ghosts that awaken Black women each day. This debut poetry collection summons multiple hauntings—ghosts of matriarchs that came before, those that were slain, and those that continue to speak to us, but also those horrors women of color strive to put to rest. Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat examines the haunting feeling of facing past demons while grappling with sexism, racism, and bigotry. They are all present: ancestral ghosts, societal ghosts, and spiritual, internal hauntings. This book calls out for women to speak their truth in hopes of settling the ghosts or at least being at peace with them.


"Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat pursues agency, selfhood, and disturbing meditations on inhumanity. These poems deliver truth and rage with the precision of a visionary heart and the rancid tears of a poisoned ghost.

This powerful collection bears witness to the fraught overlap between women’s bodies and minds. Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat reframes the black body politic as sacrament, benediction, delicacy, and tenderness.

These verses are timeless refrains sizzling on parched tongues. All praises for the testament of these poems that bring a full communion of blessed assurances to wise women daring oceans to erase our footprints and to wild girls chasing winds that steal the scent of herstory."
—Jaki Shelton Green, author of I Want to Undie You


Khalisa Rae is a poet, queer rights activist, journalist, and educator in Durham, North Carolina, and a graduate of the Queens University MFA program. Her chapbook, Real Girls Have Real Problems, was published in 2012, and her recent work has been seen in PANK, Sundog Lit, Crab Fat, Damaged Goods Press, Red Room Poetry’s New Shoots poetry anthology, Glass Poetry, TERSE., Luna Luna, The Hellebore, Homology Lit, Dancing Bear Books: WOMXN Anthology, Tishman Review, and Obsidian, among others. She was a Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize finalist and a winner of the Fem Lit Magazine Contest, Voicemail Poetry Contest, White Stag Publishing Contest, and Bright Wings Poetry Contest. She is Managing Equity and Inclusion Editor of Carve Magazine and Consulting Poetry Editor for Kissing Dynamite. Unlearning Eden is forthcoming from White Stag Publishing in Summer 2021. She is currently the Writing Center Director at Shaw University and the newest writer for NBC-BLK and Black Girl Nerds.