BROADSTONE BOOKS announces
Publication Date:  July 1, 2020
Paperback, 96 pages
ISBN:  978-1-937968-65-6

Booksellers:  Available from
Small Press Distribution

$22.50 retail, or
$16.50
when you order directly from
Broadstone Books, below
Donald Vincent received his BA in
Writing and Public Relations at Loyola
University Maryland and MFA in Poetry
from Emerson College. He is also known
as Mr. Hip, a music recording artist with
music available on all streaming platforms.
His music projects include Vegan Paradise
(2018), Who Is Mr. Hip (2018),
International Hip (2017), and Jokes From
My Ex (2015). He teaches English
Composition at UCLA and Visual & Media
Arts at Emerson College Los Angeles.
Originally from the Southeast sector of
Washington, DC, he currently lives in Los
Angeles and at
www.hidonaldvincent.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An old movie theme song once observed, “What’s too painful to remember, we simply
choose to forget.” That sort of
convenient amnesia is at the heart of this incandescent
first poetry collection from Donald Vincent. Incandescent, because that’s the sort of
light that is produced by heat, and there’s a mighty heat raging in these pages,
producing a brilliance that illuminates a legacy of racism and violence and
appropriation and disenfranchisement and, and, and…all those things we’d like to
forget, ignore, disown. All that pain. This is, in other words, a document on the subject
of getting
woke.

And what an awakening! Vincent is by his own description “Prankster and intelligent
gangster all-in-one,” and that phrase captures perfectly the tone, and charm, of this
book. But beware that beguiling charm, because it’s dangerous. Indeed, “Lucky
Charm” is the title of the first poem, where he declares, “I inherited the bop in my
walk from my great, / great grandpa’s lashings on the farm.” That’s a hard-won bop,
indeed, and in case we’re inclined to forget, conveniently, that those lashings are not
just a thing of the past (cf.
post-racial society), he doubles down a few lines later with
the incendiary reminder, “I want to whistle whimsical feelings to white women, /
Emmett Till’s charm.” Vincent identifies himself with Till again a few poems later,
and laments that black children are born as “a small, black imprint / forced into a
blank, / white world.”  Elsewhere, he declares, “they built me / to be filthy / black &
ugly / and forever / guilty.” He won’t let us forget how that feels, how that works,
even if it would be convenient to do so.

Vincent scrutinizes the aftermath of this legacy on stages large and small, and after a
first section devoted to more political poems, in the second he tightens his focus on a
more domestic scale. The title poem in fact examines an all-too-familiar scene of
troubled marriage, the husband “stumbling through the garage / entrance, smelling of
Wild Irish Rose,” his wife having “
dun cooked…dun cleaned up” and finally
demanding “
What happened to us?” His answer: “I forgot. / I don’t know. Dear, I
forgot. / Just give me one more chance.
” Yes, it’s a melodramatic stereotype, but it’s
also a sad reality for too many families, a product of too many generations of denied
opportunity, even to form stable families and communities. How many chances do we
have left? (But lest this sound too unremittingly gloomy, this section also contains
some whimsical “Dating Advice from Married Women,” along with unabashedly
romantic poems. There are things worth remembering, things worth striving for.)

In the final section, the “intelligent gangster” is most evident, as Vincent interrogates,
responds to, and riffs off works by authors and artists as various as Amira Baraka and
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Maya Angelou and Emily Dickinson, Degas and Basquiat.
This is no mere display of erudition, however, but more a declaration that a fully
formed culture, a truly humane world, must be open to all, accepting of all, and
incorporate all that has come before us. Nothing can be forgotten. Even what’s too
painful.

Praise for Donald Vincent & Convenient Amnesia

Convenient Amnesia highlights how Donald Vincent is humorous, sarcastic, critical,
and somber all at once, and it doesn’t matter which coast he’s on or if he’s trekking
through Paris. The poems ripple with observations and formal range. This book is
filled with head nods and at least one utterance of damn at a moment that dissolves
pretense. Damn!
                                          —Tara Betts, author of
Break the Habit

Donald Vincent’s first book Convenient Amnesia is the book of a poet who says
truthfully that he will “embody struggle/defying expectation every day.” A poet
against the erasure of blackness, with all his registers of ten-ways poetry, Donald
Vincent writes for being one whole person right here, right now.

                                          —David Blair, author of
Barbarian Seasons

Because Amnesia might, as a towering creative twin associate, stand in for America,
there’s a hole, and I and eyehole, in the middle of each of the pages of this book, one
that the reader must spin and un-spin, mix and remix, in order to reshuffle the
changing turntable of “commas in the wrong place.” The hole is the whole of history,
personal and under-surveillance, where public memory is the currency of flow. Thus
Convenient Amnesia is a very versatile creative phrenology of the roots of a wise (yet
casual) witnessing. In poems that climb, from source to sound, the known and
unknown ladders of the cultural register, Donald Vincent is both cunning and
courageous as well as full of the poetic swag it takes to mix and mingle with the old
battles between justice and injustices that our ancestors were forced to leave
unfinished. Here is a new record for future playlists and damn-near every groove
contains a Black Ass Free mind treat!

                                  —Thomas Sayers Ellis, author of
The Corny Toys

Convenient Amnesia
takes upon itself the grave paradox involved in nothing being
forgotten, everything being exposed, everything standing judged, all being overcome;
Vincent’s poems reveal and revel within poetry’s genius for finding the edges and true
centers of beauty and truth in visible and hidden centers and hard to find outskirts
everywhere. Vincent writes with historical purpose and communal love for living via
poetry’s advantage. His poems invoke Dr. Martin Luther King, President Barack
Obama, martyrs and musicians, family and friends; his poems are about these times
and all times, they are unafraid to go where they must go if they are to do what poetry
always wants to do.
                                  —Dara Wier, author of
In the Still of the Night
Convenient
Amnesia
Poetry by
Donald
Vincent
author photo: Dunja Dumanski
Cover artwork & design by Tana Torrent