Simone John is a poet, educator, and freelance writer based in Boston, MA. Since completing her MFA at Goddard College, Simone has devised youth poetry workshops that explore hip hop culture and poetry as a form of protest. Her poetry and essays have been published online and in print in The Pitkin Review, The Writer in the World, and the Elohi Gadugi Journal. Her first full-length poetry collection, Testify, is forthcoming from Octopus Books in 2017.
Simone John’s first chapbook Collateral centers on the police stop of Sandra Bland that led to her death while in police custody on July 13, 2015. With documentary poetic techniques that reframe the transcript of Bland’s stop alongside poems of personal experience, John critiques the speech acts and status quos of race and gender supremacy in America. Collateral responds to systemic terror, and finds power in the voice, in grief, in attention, in keeping Sandra Bland and other victims of police violence in the room, in continuing to say their names.
Simone John’s first full-length book, Testify, will be published by Octopus Books in 2017.
A Brief History of Murder
after The Last New Year’s Resolution by Kazumi Chin
The last black girl they killed wore beads in her hair
on picture day. Her name is swallowed instead of spoken.
Her hashtag–trending until they kill the next black boy.
The next black girl they’ll kill is writing this poem.
The first black boy they killed was neither black nor boy.
Seen as some rare breed of African wildlife
to be captured. To be carried across the Atlantic.
To be sacrificed to the sea when his body broke
in the belly of the ship. The first black boy
they killed had a mother.