Aaron Coleman's St. Trigger, winner of the 2015 Button Poetry Prize, investigates race and gender in contemporary America through a constantly shifting series of structures, forming its own boundaries in one poem only to break and reshape them in the next. Narrative shatters into pure lyric and reforms in an instant. Coleman's poems define themselves -- sharp and blazing and wholly new.
“Aaron Coleman’s undeniable St. Trigger breaks open the conflicted masculinities in the fist-heavy spaces around Black America. Through his hard-hitting, sonic verses, all of the frustrations pushing against Blackness in 2016—the insistent danger, the unforgiving partisanship, the violence—are transformed into necessary resilience. There is so much beauty here, too, in Coleman’s dexterous imagery. But even in the elegant spaces, these poems are looking over their shoulder just to be safe. As the speaker of “Elegy for Apogee” asks, “How close is absurdity, is irrelevance, is danger?”” —Adrian Matejka, author of The Big Smoke
“To protect what?” That question troubles every poem in this collection. That, and the next logical question, the continually reiterated, “How?”—How to defend against the theft and erosion of what is hard-won, fragile, fluid, undeniable, and ultimately self-defining? Throughout, the tension created by the trope of a “trigger” is brilliantly married to form … traditional lines explode into fragment, shredding the questions and any tentative answers. As we watch the disintegration, in disquiet, and in awe of Coleman’s daring, new questions move into place: What should we do with the myths that have always guided us—myths of manhood, womanhood, childhood—and with the illusion that want can be satisfied, and with our necessary faith that our triumphs will always carry us forward. —Mary Jo Bang
"The spirit of danger that permeates every line of St. Trigger makes Aaron Coleman a poet to watch and admire." -- Jericho Brown, author of The New Testament
About Aaron Coleman (Detroit, Michigan Author)
Aaron Coleman is the author of the chapbook St. Trigger, which won the 2015 Button Poetry Prize, judged by Adrian Matejka, and his first full-length collection, Threat Come Close, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in March 2018. A Fulbright Scholar and Cave Canem Fellow, Aaron received his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. From Metro-Detroit, Aaron has lived and worked with youth in locations including Chicago, St. Louis, Spain, South Africa, and Kalamazoo. Former Public Projects Assistant at Pulitzer Arts Foundation, winner of the Tupelo Quarterly TQ5 Poetry Contest, The Cincinnati Review Schiff Award, and the American Literary Translator Association’s 2017 Jansen Memorial Fellow, Aaron’s poems have appeared in Boston Review, Fence, New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere. He is currently a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow in Washington University’s Comparative Literature PhD program.