In our series Wonderwork, CU Denver students, faculty, staff, and alumni recommend one book, podcast, television show, film, etc. that deserves more attention. Our ultimate goal is to promote a more diverse and inclusive book and media culture. June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, so our focus will be on works by LGBTQ+ creatives or about LGBTQ+ issues. Nominate your favorite Wonderwork by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or posting on social media with #CUDenverWonderWork.
“Just as some cultures have a hundred words for ‘snow,’ there should be a hundred words in our language for all the ways a black boy can lie awake at night.”
“Everyone has a lie we’re quietly waiting to believe.”
“Standing in front of the mirror, my reflection and I were like rival animals, just moments away from tearing each other limb from limb.”
These are just some of the many passages I found myself underlining, circling, and marking with stars as I sped through Saeed Jones’ 2019 memoir How We Fight for Our Lives.
Jones, an award-winning poet, immerses his reader in prose that is vivid and unforgiving in its precision as he recounts growing up and coming of age as a gay Black man in America. He movingly animates his struggles with homophobia and racism—both cultural and internalized—and his fierce will to survive them.
A book that makes one feel painfully, wonderingly alive.
– Associate Professor Nicky Beer, Department of English
Nicky Beer is a bi/queer writer and an associate professor in the English Department. Her third book of poems, Real Phonies and Genuine Fakes, will be published by Milkweed Editions in Spring 2022.