Where William Walked: Poems About Philadelphia
and Its People of Color


Winner, Willow Books Grand Prize in Poetry

“Sometimes reclaiming the lives of a people has to come one city, one block, one doorstep at a time. Where William Walked  harbors and reclaims Philadelphia’s lost brethren. Crowned with unnamed mercies, women’s sorrows and belonging, it’s a Pandora’s box of art and history. It interrogates faith and forgiveness, formality and freedom, inserting some of the missing and rewriting the narratives few know with an ‘inflamed hope for colored folk.’”

— Remica Bingham-Risher  (Judge's statement)

“Acute intelligence, historical imagination, formal mastery, and an unerring ethical compass distinguish these prize-winning poems, along with an ironic eye and a subtle
wit, as her image says: 'Don’t charge a train head on—loosen a rail.' In these poems of ancestral reclamation, Vernita Hall gives voice and vivid presence to those individuals whose bold and memorable lives comprise the Philadelphia story that many of us have been waiting to read.”

— Eleanor Wilner

"This will be an important book."       — Marilyn Nelson

The Hitchhiking Robot Learns About Philadelphians

Winner, Moonstone (Press) Chapbook Contest

“In a broad display of approaches in craft, the poet visits the history of Philadelphia in a manner reminiscent of steampunk aesthetics. Jules Verne meets W.E.B. DuBois in a time traveling romp back and forth from The Souls of Black Folk  to today's evening news. This is fresh and ambitious writing, a collection that brings a view eschewing nostalgia and romanticized ways of looking at history. Instead it plops the reader squarely in the present with the past as a spectator looking on with renewed wisdom. Voices in the formation of the A.M.E. church and Bill Cosby's lost son find a common place here, along with many other subjects, subjects making a diverse populace.”

— Afaa Michael Weaver  (Judge's statement)

© 2019  by Vernita Hall