My Darling from the Lions


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A TIME Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Book Review, NYLON and ESSENCE Best Book of Fall

“Rachel Long has miraculous command of the line, in all its trickery and grace and gasps, showcasing a truly refreshing voice with observant, deeply felt insight.” —Morgan Parker, author of Magical Negro

Finalist for the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection

Each poem in Rachel Long’s award-winning My Darling from the Lions has a vivid story to tell—of family quirks, the perils of dating, the grip of religion, or sexual awakening—stories that are, by turn, emotionally insightful, politically conscious, wise, funny, and outrageous. Told in three sections, it’s a book about growing up, falling in love with not-great men, and girlhood; a collection that speaks to femininity, divinity, familial shame, Black identity, and modern culture.

Long reveals herself as a razor-sharp and original voice on the issues of sexual politics and cultural inheritance that polarize our current moment. With a fresh commitment to the power of the individual poem, her collection offers immediate, wide-awake poetry that entertains royally, without sacrificing a note of its urgency or remarkable skill.

My Darling from the Lions marks the arrival of a thrilling new voice and presence in poetry.


  • [A] warm, expansive debut, which plumbs aspects of female identity with verve. Love, motherhood, Black culture: She shows it all.

    —The New York Times Book Review

  • Poetry for the modern world.


  • Achingly vulnerable and sharp, it lifts up experiences that unite Black women across the diaspora. . . . By the time you get to the end, you’ll know in your bones that you’re not alone.


  • Alive with a breathless energy.

    —The Guardian

  • The intimacy of her poetic voice enhances its power to disarm.

    —Times Literary Supplement

  • A rich yet sometimes deeply sinister look at all stages of the restriction and resistance of feminine desire.

    —Washington Independent Review of Books

  • Remarkable.

    —Big Black Books

  • Long takes us swiftly through the trials and tribulations of themes we’d all recognize like love, sex, politics, and more. She is a voice that is hard to forget.

    —Glitter Guide

  • An enchanting and heartwarming new voice in poetry.

    —Bernardine Evaristo

  • A masterpiece. . . . Clarifyingly alive to the entire universe of a woman’s life.

    —Elaine Castillo, author of America Is Not the Heart

  • These gripping, vivid poems announce Long as a notable new voice.

    —Publishers Weekly

  • Superb. . . . profoundly moving.