Issue 87: Amber McBride

A photo of Amber McBride

About Amber McBride

Amber McBride is an English professor at the University of Virginia. She received her BA in English from James Madison University in 2010 and acquired her MFA in Poetry from Emerson College in 2012. Amber low-key practices Hoodoo and high key devours books (150 or so a year keep her well fed).

Her poetry has appeared in/forthcoming in various literary magazines including PloughsharesProvincetown ArtsDecomPThe Cincinnati ReviewThe Rumpus and others. Amber also writes Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction and is represented by Rena Rossner at The Deborah Harris Literary Agency. Her novel-in-verse Me (Moth) will be published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan, in Aug 2021.

A Profile of the Author

Notes on "Southern Gothic (For the Black Boy)" and "Desecrate"

“Southern Gothic (For the Black Boy)” & “Desecrate” are both from a poetry collection I am working on tentatively called, Thick With Trouble. The collection examines being a minority in The United States and how simply living is an act of protest. The seeds for the poem “Desecrate” were actually planted when I was 13 or 14. My parents took us to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, CA. While walking through the museum I became very upset; I did not understand why so many human bodies were on display and why they were so far away from where they died. Two years ago, I had the same thought at a museum and started drafting this poem on my phone. I wanted to inspect if time had anything to do with the wishes of the deceased and the line between research and ritual. As an adult I was also very aware that the bodies of Pharaohs were on display, but not European kings/ queens. So this poem asked why?

“Southern Gothic (For the Black Boy)” arose from the frustration with the continued abuses/ fears and inaccurate stereotypes about Black men/boys in America. There is a twin poem in my collection that speaks to these same fears thrown at Black women. I also wanted to write a poem using couplets.

At the heart, both of these poems birthed from questioning the disparity between how white bodies are treated compared to the bodies of BIPOC. Inspecting these subtle and sometimes blatant disparities is a central theme in my collection, Thick With Trouble.

Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

I have to listen to music when I write, so I am a huge fan of all genres. If I put my “Liked Spotify Playlist” on shuffle the first five songs I get are: Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday, Black Parade by Beyonce, Dilemme by Lous and The Yakuza, Daechwita by Agust D, and Dinner & Diatribes by Hozier.

Tattoos are essentially accessories you never have to take off—I adore them. I have several (all words and numbers) and I anticipate that as soon as it is safe to travel I will accidently (on purpose), get 15 in one year.

My German Shepherd, Shiloh, is my wolf child and best friend—she also enjoys music and if she did not have so much fur would want a tattoo.

Issue 87

“Southern Gothic (For the Black Boy)” and “Desecrate” by Amber McBride

“Southern Gothic (For the Black Boy)”   Our meal begins at a pine table surrounded by finely dressed haunts. The table wears a black cloth, to hide the blood in … Read more

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