Mitchell L. H. Douglas

Mitchell L. H. Douglas (Poetry) | Indianapolis, IN

Booking Fee:


Will Travel:




Mitchell L. H. Douglas, Associate Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, a Cave Canem graduate fellow, and Poetry Editor for PLUCK!: the Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. His second poetry collection \blak\ \al-fə bet\, winner of the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award, is available from Persea Books. His debut collection, Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem, was a runner-up for the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize, a semifinalist for the 2007 Blue Lynx Prize, and a semifinalist for the 2006 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. In 2010, Cooling Board was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work-Poetry category and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. His poetry has appeared in Callaloo, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (University of Georgia Press), Crab Orchard Review, and Zoland Poetry Volume II (Zoland Books) among others.


\blak\ \al-fə bet\ (Persea Books, 2013). Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award. Poetry.
Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem (Red Hen Press, 2009). Poetry.

Press & Reviews

“Roosted at Fender Rhodes piano and veiled beneath a supernatural Apple cap, Donny Hathaway narrated the many rivers of the human heart in un-ironed sweet song. In Cooling Board, Mitch Douglas, our new bard of Black musical memory, hears the call of Hathaway’s piano, peeks beneath the signature hat, then steps bold into the river of Hathaway’s iconic sound. This is Mitch Douglas’ neophyte troubadour baptizing. The poet is drenched, then, set sailing, in what is found on bank and shore of Hathaway’s life. The poet crafts a bright theatre of response, a rhythmic, un-authorized, long-playing poem on the life of the Chicago/St. Louis genius, who gave us notes we had never heard before and will never hear again. Those of us raised on his black octaves know that this 8 track of a winding story cannot bring Hathaway back to us, but it does peel our hearts back far enough to feel the pouring in of both the critical Eulaulah and the unusual ukulele of Hathaway’s piercing balladry. Douglas does his poet-job. He makes us hunger for Hathaway, he makes us reach for his every hummed-up and moaned-out word, underwater, with our ears sloshing full of Hathaway’s high notes, holding our breath to the end.”
—Nikky Finney, author of Head Off & Split

“Like Al Green who ‘sings of the corners’ jut to meet you, the pain of the angle, how one street runs right into the next,’ Mitchell Douglas navigates sacred and secular avenues, the age-old aches and new age joys, the uptown and downhome worlds of his people. Vignettes of landscape and culture blend until “there is no curb between street & skin” in these wonderful new poems. Like its author, blak al-fe bət is a force of scrutinizing intellect, imagination and soul.”
—Terrance Hayes, author of How to Be Drawn

“This book reaches back to a recent past that now seems far away, as if the speed of the present is causing that past to shrink and dim. Many of the poems capture a world just before it changed, before it became less centered, less vital. And that makes this a book of profound grief—grief for what we miss, and a further grief for what is missing now. ‘No one loves like this anymore,’ Mitchell Douglas observes. He’s right about that, and he is right to have made this deep and moving book in tribute.”
—Maurice Manning, author of The Gone and the Going Away

“It was clearly impossible for Mitchell Douglas to improve on the deftly-honed character sketches of his acclaimed first effort, Cooling Board. But he simply wasn’t fazed by the specter of impossibility. Between these covers are fresh stanzas of drum and muscle, documenting the addictive dramas of colored folk. Every line is threaded with funk and ferocity, conjuring a world that is as relentless and essential as the alphabet.”
—Patricia Smith, author of Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah

Love what we do? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!