2021 Golden Poppy Award Winner for Poetry – Chosen by the California Independent Booksellers Alliance
2022 California Book Award Finalist
Politically astute, filled with wisdom and great humanity, this is poetry meant to conjure a healing and provoke a confrontation, an invitation to a journey through Black America.
“Words are not the revolution itself, Eisen-Martin seems to say, and yet this book disturbed me more than any other I read this year. It reminds me that poetry can rewire our thinking–can actually change our minds–by using nothing like the rote language we’re so used to hearing in speech and in prose. It can jolt us out of patterns, back into intelligence.”–The New York Times, “The Best Poetry of 2021″
A rhapsodic follow-up to Tongo Eisen-Martin’s Heaven is All Goodbyes, this collection further explores themes of love and loss, family and faith, refracted through the lens of Black experience. These poems honor intellectual tradition and ancestral knowledge while blazing an entirely new path, recording and replaying the poet’s sensory travels through America, from its packed metropolises to desolate anytowns. Radical, outraged, knowing, wry, and deeply humane, these are poems of survival that soar with a vision of collective liberation.
Praise for Blood on the Fog:
“Continuing the lofty tradition of Langston Hughes, June Jordan, and Amiri Baraka, Tongo Eisen-Martin has emerged on center stage as today’s premier revolutionary poet. A master craftsman and a sensitive artist, he reserves his sledgehammer words for the cruelty of imperialism. He should not only be read–he should be studied.”–Gerald Horne
“In Blood on the Fog, find a poetry of ‘swinging type body language’ where the swinging swings like Ellington and Ali combined, knocking you out inside and out, and turning you around in this extraordinary book.”–Terrance Hayes
“Black poetry has got to get its head around the deranged way language and the world expect us to be and live again. Tongo has figured this out, is feeling out how to vein the poem with his own life, and that’s why I love his work.”–Simone White
“This is no precious, immortal-aspirational monologue; no autocrat stone of finality; no poor folks as thought experiments. More fugue than state. More disturbance as the groove. If poems are for anything, I feel like it must be this.”–Justin Phillip Reed
“Blood on the Fog is the illest artifact of time travel I’ve ever experienced. Tongo Eisen-Martin takes us to a tomorrow and yesterday where we stand–contorted and mangled–but oh so beautiful, faithful and free.”–Kiese Laymon
“Whether speaking rhyme in slant, calling forward Medgar Evers, or the spirituality of an oppressed people, Eisen-Martin offers stanza after stanza as a sunrise. Each poem leads us towards our liberation. This means these poems are heavy in their desire to free our current state of stoic apathy. This means Tongo Eisen-Martin’s poetic legacy will live forever.”–Mahogany L. Browne