by Calvin Walds
publication date: April 1, 2021
Winner of the 2020 Nonfiction/Hybrid Chapbook Contest, selected by Sarah Minor
—Named "Best of 2020/2021 Nonfiction Book" by Entropy
Flee is on the move.
Flee is a mode of being and of making, one that moves from Detroit, to Paris, to Brooklyn, Hargeisa, and back, with a hybrid of warring energies— the lyrical, theoretical, political, and surreal—to innovate and interrogate both form and content in surpassing the actual. Flee seeks to find something else, maybe soft grass to lie on. With prose and photographs, Flee engages memories of travel in their physical, affective, and relational dimensions and reflects on Aaliyah, drones, Levinas, and Bushwick along the way. Flee is a chronicle and a poetics.
Praise for Flee:
"Flee moves deftly between the personal and the critical, the pop and the academic, to explore how types of captivity replicate themselves across time and space. 'Longing is my political apparatus,' writes Walds, 'I still dance in the mirror. I think people still wonder why we don’t just accept the world?' Rather than 'braid' or 'collage' subjects, Calvin Walds uses an immersive, essayistic structure that asks Adorno to converse with Aaliyah and moves our viewfinder seamlessly from Detroit to Paris to Bushwick to Hargeisa to Brooklyn. Across the book, moments of seeing and being seen shift the traditional connection between writer and reader as Walds reminds the audience that they are not the only ones who are looking. Flee is performing and also doubtful of escape. The book cranes our necks to see what could be on the other side."
—Sarah Minor, author of Slim Confessions and Bright Archive
Calvin Walds is a writer, educator, and abolitionist/image-maker/nomad originally from Detroit, Michigan. His poems and texts have been published in No, Dear, African-American Review, Hyperallergic, Callaloo Journal, the Poetry Project Newsletter, Ctrl-V Journal, DIAGRAM, and Black Warrior Review. He has taught in Sunflower County, in the Mississippi Delta, Ramallah, in the Occupied Palestinean Territories, and most currently in New York City. He was a finalist for the Emerge Surface Be fellowship, the Black Warrior Review Poetry Contest, and long-listed for the Cosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize.