The Black Ladies Brunch Collective

The Black Ladies Brunch Collective is a group of Black women poets dedicated to creating spaces of joy and celebration as an act of resistance.

Not Without Our Laughter: Poems of Humor, Sexuality & Joy


Released in April 2017, Not Without Our Laughter (edited by celeste doaks), is a celebration of Black women.  Published by Mason Jar Press,  the anthology has been affirmed and uplifted by renowned poets and readers for its exploration of joy as a resistance.  You can buy our book at one of our readings or online. 

Not Without Our Laughter Reviews

Come, celebrate with me these necessary poems of vulnerability and connection, sex and survival, humor and history. “This is how we fit together,” Saida Agostini writes in “Adventures of the Third Limb,” a poem that revels in the fact of a fit that’s “loud, tight and eager.” Open and generous, this collection presents a slice of the black fantastic of black women’s lives, models of community we all too often miss. In a neighboring poem, “Husbands,” Tafisha Edwards asks, “I mean what if I’m bad news.” These women and their work, their words, are good news! We will not survive without them.

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Open Interval, National Book Award Nominee


Not Without Our Laughter is brilliantly addictive. A collection of talented voices that lyrically blends poems full of passion, pain and perseverance in an honest and sobering way. Not Without Our Laughter offers a rare perspective with insight we all need to experience.

D Watkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Beast Side and The Cook Up


In body-splitting, heart-baring poems, Not Without Our Laughter rocks you nearly sane.

Beginning with Anya Creightney’s “Leaving the House”: I am going out in the world resolved to act boogaloo and bug-eyed…to Saida Agostini’s “Adventures of the Third Limb” and chocolate thunder strap-ons, these poems ping-pong you inside/outside the body until the blur becomes its own radiance: Prince, Beyonce, your mother, dumping your racist ass boss, Harriet Tubman as a lesbian—and The Black Ladies Brunch Collective spill it hard and beautiful: imagine all this machinery just to love. As celeste doaks says: We find divinity wherever the hell we want.

Jan Beatty, Jackknife: New and Selected Poems, University of Pittsburgh Press


The first line of the first poem sets the firecracker tone for this book: “I am going out into the world resolved to act bugaloo and bug-eyed.” But it’s the title of that poem – Leaving the House -- tells you all you need to know: no more privacy, no more hiding, no more hush. I wasn't sure what these poets were going to say page to page, but it was clear from the start they’d say it as if running down a big hill, out of breath and eager to take us some place new. The blend of the one and the many, of singular voices and overlapping experiences, gives “Not Without Our Laughter” the feel of something welded or woven, and stronger for it. This was the most exciting tag team poetry match against silence I’ve ever been to. So I’m going to use a dirty word now – this book is fun.

Bob Hicok, Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, Guggenheim Fellow


In Not Without Our Laughter, six innovative poets have created a collection that sings and laments, inspires and defies and, above all, celebrates. These poems evoke laughter, sadness, passion and pride through lyrical explorations of what is desired and what is forbidden, what threatens and what helps us endure. Readers will find their own lives reflected here and will return to this collection often to access the joy, honesty and panache it so richly conveys.

Jane Clarke, Author of The River