Winner of a Whiting Writers Award
Winner of the Metcalf Award in Literature
from the American Academy of Arts & Letters

Winner, OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (Poetry)
An American Library Association Notable Book of the Year
Winner of the 2017 Phillis Wheatley Book Award in Poetry

Finalist for the 2017 PEN Center USA Literary Award  
Longlisted for the 2017 PEN Open Book Award
Longlisted for the 2017 Dylan Thomas Prize
One of BuzzFeeds Best Poetry Books of 2016
One of The New Yorkers Books We Loved in 2016”
A Publishers Weekly Poetry Top 10” for Fall 2016
One of BuzzFeed Books Best Literary Debuts of 2016
A Poets & Writers Top Ten Poetry Debut of 2016
One of The Roots Best Books of 2016
A Publishers Weekly Most Anticipated Book of Fall 2016
Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry

A “stunning debut collection.”
Publishers Weekly, (Starred Review)

“Reading (and rereading) Sinclair is an urgently necessary, absolutely unparalleled experience.
Booklist, (Starred Review)

Sharp observations on our off-kilter world will spark your emotions while engaging your mind.”—The American Library Association, Notable Book Citation

“Filled with beautifully rich imagery...Lyrical and provocative, Sinclair’s poems teach the reader in rich language what it means to be 'other.'”—BuzzFeed Books

“You can never forget Sinclair is a singer in the deepest sense. Mermaid and siren, you won’t ever quite catch the agile poet, but you’ll be dazzled as she arcs these poems into deep and glittering waters.”—Kenyon Review

“Much like June Jordan and Audre Lorde, Sinclair is a force to be reckoned with. Her stanzas will revive you and leave you transformed.”— Lenny Letter

“Scorching the sea of postcolonial poetry, this award-winning collection comes to eat you.”—Waxwing Magazine

Cannibal [is] a book of history born into the contemporary, full of variegated wonders from a poet who exhaustively examines what it means to be a woman, what it means to live in exile, and what it means to be other.”—KQED Arts, The Spine

“Few contemporary poets can capture the universal through the personal with such detail, allure, and wit...Sinclair’s Cannibal is a breeze of fresh sea air which comforts and challenges. Cannibal has already carved a chunk off the literary canon.”—The Adroit Journal

 “A beautiful, complicated, radical book.”—Book Thug

“Sinclair manages to imbue her writing with such strength and spirit that it gives her poems a disturbing and provocative edge — sometimes shocking, and at other times soft and sensual.” 
OCM Bocas Prize in Caribbean Literature, Poetry Judges’ Citation

“Safiya Sinclair revitalizes language with her keen imagery and vivid language...asking us to reconsider everything we know through every pitch-perfect word in this collection.”—The Root

Cannibal pulsates with the lushness of Jamaica, its flora, fauna, rhythms, sea....Merging rage and rigor, the fierce voices of her black female personae embody emancipation and revenge.”—World Literature Today

Cannibal is a fervent book that shackles me to read, reread, read out, and perform its poems...truly magical, hypnotic, and devastating.” —The Adroit Journal

“Rich and mythic, heavy with the legacy of family and history, many of Safiya Sinclair’s poems are inspired by her childhood in Jamaica; a richness and density in the imagery conveys a lush beauty and danger...Follow her sparkling, detailed phrasings and lines and you will arrive drenched in human contact...There often seems to be dialectics at play between wildness and control. Her poems reveal she is in full bougainvillea bloom.”
2016 Whiting Award Selection Committee

“Safiya Sinclair writes strange, mythological, gorgeously elaborate lyric poems, with a diction that is both arcane and contemporary. . . . Her language is distinctive, assured, and a marvel to read.”

Cathy Park Hong, from her introduction in the Boston Review

Cannibal is nothing less than an entrancing debut that reveals the teeming intellect and ravishing lucidity of a young poet in full possession of her literary powers. Here is a poetry that richly interrogates power and history while also eloquently and furtively asserting the possibilities of nature, desire, and the body as ceremonial and spiritual sources of resistance and affirmation.”

Major Jackson, author of Roll Deep

“With exquisite lyrical precision, Safiya Sinclair is offering us a new muscular music that is as brutal as it is beautiful. Intelligent and elemental, these poems mark the debut of a poet who is dangerously talented and desperately needed.”

Ada Limón, author of Bright Dead Things





We are tongue-tied with the songs of unknown birds, an extinct diction.