The Dandelion Speaks of Survival by Quin

2021

The Dandelion Speaks of Survival

A debut collection from Quintin Collins

"The poems in A Dandelion Speaks of Survival originate from a boundless imagination and are offered to readers with deft clarity in rhapsodic cadences. The collection is part bildungsroman in verse and part lyrical, poetic paeans to cultural experiences steeped in familial and communal love, anguish and perseverance. Most readers will be unable to think of mosquitoes, tennis, a Caprice Classic, Air Force Ones, chess and dandelions the same way again."

Jeffrey L. Coleman, Ph.D., Professor of English,
St. Mary's College of Maryland

 

“There should be a collective noun to describe Quintin Collin’s poetry—a heat of poetry.  Poem-to-poem, it’s fierce and formidable, sensuous and hip. But it’s also a poetry that draws you pitch-perfect to unexpected notes—'call me weed, call me nuisance, call me pest, say I am not welcome, poison this soil to stunt my growth, know that I survive.' Revelatory, dazzling with wit and wisdom as it dismantles racism and a faltering America, The Dandelion Speaks of Survival is an extraordinary debut collection."

 

 – Dzvinia Orlowsky

The Dandelion Speaks of Survival_QC Mock

“Quintin Collins is a poet’s poet but not one so dazzled by his own formal dexterity and poetic imagination that he loses touch with the world. While tenderness and joy abound in this promising debut, the most powerful moments see 'fresh to death' boys, posturing and vulnerable, trying to tear a way out of the social contradictions, mislaid hungers, and racial erasure swirling around them in an American warpland.”

 

– Iain Haley Pollock, author of Ghost, Like a Place

“Deft, decidedly vulnerable and unapologetically Black, Quintin Collins' The Dandelion Speaks of Survival is an inspiring debut and much appreciated volume exploring self-definition under the brunt of race, class and masculinity. Collins' poetic vignettes delight in local vernacular, hang at street level, let us touch the dirt with our own hands such that we might feel, perhaps even understand, what it means to grow as the titular, undesirable weed. Collins' work reminds us, though, that beauty is only an orientation, a way the eyes are trained. By the end of this collection, we're not trying to root out the dandelion from our grounds but root for its continued resilience. We become the concrete and earth it splits open.”

 

– Cortney Lamar Charleston, author of Doppelgangbanger

“A 'tornado' in the mouth of the right poet can 'scrape this country clean.' Collins enters immediately while knocking. His control of detail and shape break the skin with a music that is both shattering and melodic; it’s beautiful, but never conflates beauty with suffering. The poems 'move/between the master’s tools' with sublime precision. They remind us what ideas of manhood have made in the deep stakes of our American chessboard. Listen harder, and we’re all in there, in the empty spaces, grandmother’s house, tennis court. The dandelion has no time for daffodils. It’s about what things cost, and for whom the prices are inflated almost beyond endurance.”

 

– Tara Hart, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Humanities, Howard Community College

2022

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Claim Tickets
for Stolen People

The second collection from Quintin Collins
Winner of the Charles B. Wheeler Prize

“Reading Claim Tickets for Stolen People creates the feeling one has studying a transcendental sonogram: Collins’s poetry brings inner life into focus. Blackness is reclaimed, celebrated, embodied. He can give shape to Barack Obama’s tan suit and Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. He can be furious, funny, and fatherly in a single poem, with a range as broad as his compassion. This is a marvelous book. Claim Tickets for Stolen People gives shape to our magical, mercurial world.”

 

—Terrance Hayes

 

“Collins deftly speaks back to every accusation, rumor, and lie America has flung across his back, devours every myth America trembles behind, and reclaims history in every ordinary moment of these poems. In every ordinary thing he has spoken here, he re-discovers joy, wonder, sorrow, and fear.”

 

—Mark Turcotte

Born of still life and lyric, Collins’s sophomore collection is an excavation of America that leaves no question unasked. With masterful sonic resonance, he demonstrates the saliency of our reclamation and the ways in which Black bodies are redemption songs, humming . . .”

 

—Daniel B. Summerhill

Claim Tickets for Stolen People is an alternative history book in which Black storying, Black sayings, and Black mythology are the truest things we know. . . . With an archeologist’s precision, Collins digs a Black truth from the soil of historical erasure.”

 

—Taylor Byas

Claim Tickets for Stolen People is that first sip of ice cold water on a summer day where the concrete sizzles. Collins’s tight control of rhythm and language pop with vignettes that surprise while retaining the familiar scent of home. A quick-witted, empathetic consideration of the memories that make us.”

 

—Jeni De La O