Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

Publication Date: April 5, 2016
ISBN# 9781940696201 (7x10 224pp, paperback) / ISBN# 9781940696225 (7x10 224pp, limited edition hardcover)
Purchase: Wave Books / Your Local Bookstore (IndieBound) / Amazon

From the Publisher: With ambitious manipulations of poetic forms, Tyehimba Jess presents the sweat and story behind America’s blues, worksongs and church hymns. Part fact, part fiction, Jess's much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I. Olio is an effort to understand how they met, resisted, complicated, co-opted, and sometimes defeated attempts to minstrelize them.



This 21st century hymnal of black evolutionary poetry, this almanac, this theatrical melange of miraculous meta-memory. Tyehimba Jess is inventive, prophetic, wondrous. He writes unflinchingly into the historical clefs of blackface, black sound, human sensibility. After the last poem is read we have no idea how long we've been on our knees.
— Nikky Finney {find additional reviews}


National Poetry Winner Series winner selected by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Publication Date: October 1, 2005
ISBN# 9780974635330 (7x9 120pp, paperback)
Purchase: Wave Books / Your Local Bookstore (IndieBound) / Amazon

From the Publisher: A biography in poems, leadbelly examines the life and times of the legendary blues musician from a variety of intimate and historical perspectives, using a range of innovative poetic forms. A collage of song, culture and circumstance, alive and speaking. 


Tyehimba Jess, like the subject of his National Poetry Series-winning debut, coaxes an astonishingly rich world from the wood and steel scraps of the life he finds before him. Employing an impressive variety of voices and forms, he plays all twelve strings strapped to the box, all the bars of the jails Huddie Ledbetter lived within: “sit down and let me tell you mama, / ’bout the worry iron wrought on a man.”
—David Daniel, Ploughshares {find additional reviews}