The Hot Poets Collective Celebrates Their One Year Anniversary with the Publication “OF FIRE, OF IRON” A Poetry Anthology

The Hot Poets Collective : Jayne, Sabrina, JP, EJ, Cheryl, Liz & Ed (left to right!)

On April 21, 2012 I experienced an exceptional evening of poetry. I had the pleasure of attending The Hot Poets Collective’s  first year anniversary and the debut and book signing of their  newly published poetry anthology OF FIRE, OF IRON.

My evening began when I arrived and was greeted warmly by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor. I entered a room filled with  smiling guests chatting and celebrating with food and beverage. I became a part of this  community of jovial strangers and friends. Once the evening began, it did not disappoint. Each poet and poem held audience members from begining to end. Each poem was finely crafted.

We were taken on a journey of emotions. We ached when JP Howard read her haunting poem about the killing of Trayvon Martin. We laughed with Ed Toney when he read of his wedding night and his alter ego. We were moved by the starling and lovely imagery of the poems of Sabrina Hayeem-Ladani. We laughed aloud when Jayne the former librarian spoke of wanting to be the woman on the train with the tight spandex and long nails. We demanded justice for the wife murdered by her husband and mother in-law after giving birth to a daughter and joined Elizabeth in her compassion for a man who received food after not having eaten in two days. We laughed and smiled as a proud mother Cheryl Boyce-Taylor spoke of her son’s performance at BB King’s and the audience’s response.

The Hot Poets Collective is a diverse group of eight New York based poets who began writing together in April , 2011  in honor of Poetry Herstory/History Month.  Bravo Hot Poets Collective, on your first anniversary and your poetry anthology OF FIRE, OF IRON. Well done!

Here are some excerpts of poems from The Hot Poets Collective anthology OF FIRE, OF IRON.


I want the root cellar I hide in to hum

sing me songs the elder women sang to Allah

I want sap of oak bark mixed with mother’s ashes

to sooth the wrongs you say live within my womb

Cheryl Boyce-Taylor: BB KING REVIVAL.

I watched my son imbue them

with his hip hop moonshine

they drunk holy rollers

rising up to touch him

he my boy revival preacher

his flock tin pan soldiers

who had just received the Christ

Sabrina Hayeem-Ladani poem OF LONGING AND BRIDGES

Here the sun sets so late

that I never stay up long enough

to watch its falling. Instead,

I pin wet towels fresh from the washer

to the line outside my window,

my eyes heavy-lidded, body draped over the edge

like an abuela policing the streets.



are rage


splatter of bloodstain

your unanswered cell phone

mama’s scream and papa’s pride

sweaty scent of your school jersey

forver rewinding that morning

sweet child buried beneath memory: ours.

Elizabeth Lara : BOCA CHICA PICNIC

A man approached us, still unbent

despite his age, one deliberate step

following the next. When we offered him

our food, his face shifted.

Yes, he said, yes. I can still see

how he gripped the bowl.

how he looked at those leftovers

as if he were holding the Host,

how he crossed himself and ate.

Two days, he said, without food.

Jayne A. Pierce: ENA’S BIRTHDAY

There is no order in your absence

the patterns of your speech

echoe in my chest

empty ribs

the gauze bandage


You were right about fathers

and sons. About grown men

and love. We’re so alike

Daddy and I. Two man-crabs with

shells that bruise easy as ripe guavas.

Daddy: former steelband flag man.

Me: poet/masquerader/calypsonian.

Father/son joined like waves/sand.


Maybe the best thing ever I recall

is the way she southern draws “hey baby”

or “come to your Aunt Bernice,  Baby”

sounds like thick sap running down a maple tree

like she got, honey, molasses and

heavy sweet condensed milk held in her cheeks.

And its’ all sliding down her

warm corn-bred tongue.

She was living definition

of what, down-south use to be.

OF FIRE, OF IRON was published by the Calypso Muse Reading Series for The Hot Poets Collective and  Edited by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor.

The Calypso Muse Reading Series was founded by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor in 1994. Its main goal is to present work by new and seasoned writers of all nationalities, and to create a space where Caribbean poets could nurture their work and native dialect. Since their beginning they have grown in their offerings. Calypso Muse Reading Series offer weekend retreats, group and individual writing workshops, editing, publishing, and a monthly series, The Calypso Muse House Reading Series.  To purchase OF FIRE, OF IRON and to learn more about The Calypso Muse Reading Series Contact:

©Lorraine Currelley and The Currelley Literary Journal 2012. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.



2 thoughts on “The Hot Poets Collective Celebrates Their One Year Anniversary with the Publication “OF FIRE, OF IRON” A Poetry Anthology

  1. Thank you Lorraine for such a lovely write up of The Hot Poets Collective & our debut collection, OF FIRE, OF IRON! Thank you for all your continued support & encouragement. And the yummy treats for the table! 🙂

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