In Finna: Poems
(One World), his new collection of poetry, Nate Marshall examines the way that pop culture influences Black vernacular, the role of storytelling, family, and place.
Marshall defines finna as: fin·na /ˈfinə/ contraction: (1) going to; intending to [rooted in African American Vernacular English] (2) eye dialect spelling of “fixing to” (3) Black possibility; Black futurity; Blackness as tomorrow. His poems focus on the language of hope when Black lives and Black bodies are confronted with white supremacy, racism, and violence in our present culture.
uses Black vernacular to explore the erasure of peoples in the American narrative, ask how gendered language can provoke violence; and how it expands notions of possibility and hope. Timely and lyrical, Marshall’s work is what is needed in language during this time in our history.
Sharp, lyrical poems celebrating the Black vernacular—its influence on pop culture, its necessity for familial survival, its rite in storytelling and in creating the safety found only within its intimacy
These poems consider the brevity and disposability of Black lives and other oppressed people in our current era of emboldened white supremacy, and the use of the Black vernacular in America’s vast reserve of racial and gendered epithets. Finna explores the erasure of peoples in the American narrative; asks how gendered language can provoke violence; and finally, how the Black vernacular, expands our notions of possibility, giving us a new language of hope:
nothing about our people is romantic
& it shouldn’t be. our people deserve
poetry without meter. we deserve our
own jagged rhythm & our own uneven
walk towards sun. you make happening happen.
we happen to love. this is our greatest
is an award-winning writer, rapper, educator, and editor.
Rebekah Buchanan is an Assistant Professor of English at Western Illinois University. Her work examines the role of narrative–both analog and digital–in people’s lives. She is interested in how personal narratives produced in alternative spaces create sites that challenge traditionally accepted public narratives. She researches zines, zine writers and the influence of music subcultures and fandom on writers and narratives. You can find more about her on her website, follow her on Twitter @rj_buchanan or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.