In WATCHNIGHT, we accompany Johnson’s unnamed protagonist on a psychedelic quest across myriad forms, places, and times marked by climate crisis, exodus, and Black trans identity-making.



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eBook, Paperback

In exhilarating lyric poems and chiseled prose blocks, Cyrée Jarelle Johnson charts the history of his family alongside the history of Watchnight—a churchy holiday of messianic tarrying—and steps through portals to render the human faces of American internal migration and mass displacement—from countryside to city and back again. Spanning from 1803 to a near-future rife with class tension and racial anxiety, WATCHNIGHT is a study of Black bonds, Black grief, and Black flight.


In this book Cyrée Jarelle Johnson demonstrates deep foresight and long memory often in the same phrase.  What a ceremony for our times, our wounds, our longings.

-Alexis Pauline Gumbs
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ISBN: 978-1-643-62194-4
Paperback, 104 pages, 7 x 9 inches
Publication Date: April 9, 2024

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson’s second collection WATCHNIGHT is a major accomplishment of form and imagination. The poems in this book traverse the space between the confessional, the historical, the mythopoetic, and the speculative, guiding readers through all the rich particulars that make up the material of a life. Here is a poet firmly rooted in, but never tied down by, tradition. A poet in dialogue with those who have come before, but who brings to the conversation what is all too rare these days: something poignant and new to say.

-James Laughlin Award Judges Leila Chatti, John Murillo, and Sam Sax
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Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is a poet from Piscataway, New Jersey. He is the author of SLINGSHOT, winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. Johnson was awarded a …

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