"In Brief Black Candles, Lydia Valentine attends, with passionate velocity, to questions of survivability, remembrance and the creative art of living a fully human life, even in contexts and conditions that work against that what-it-could-be. ...reading becomes a mode of witness. ... Haptic, revolutionary and unflinching, this is a powerful debut collection by a poet who does not, and cannot, 'in this time-/ in this place-', look away."
"This debut collection, written in the most truthful key available to language, uses poetic form and precise repetition to give shape, then echo, to questions of family, loss, justice and survival, seated in the frame of an America that is a long way from post-racial-the America of today."
"Valentine weaves a text that is rich in sensory, place and imagery. ... She demands answers, calling them, you, and us to walk through the museums of our minds, reckon with our ghosts, embrace our angels, and be our own crooked superheroes."
Poet Laureate for the city of Tacoma
author of The Art of Naming My Pain
"Valentine explores the ways we touch one another and the spaces between us. ... She speaks the harms we have done; she calls us to the work of repair. ... Here you will find wounds and loss. Candles extinguished, burning and drowning. Young men turned into symbols. But you will also find new and bursting life..."
author of rough house