Suicide is often framed as betrayal, even though we live in a world that betrays us. When this world tells us that death is better, what does it mean to have faith in life? JUDAS & SUICIDE is a poetry collection navigating religion and suicidality. It approaches these topics through the lens of Black family and community, sadness, medication, sexual violence, the prison industrial complex, media, and Bible verses. JUDAS & SUICIDE explores how to be convinced to stay alive without feeling obligated to.
Poetry. LGBTQ+ Studies. Women's Studies.
”JUDAS & SUICIDE is filled with crucial work for the church baby, for the Black child and for you. Williams writes about suicidal ideation honestly and the shadow religious trauma casts while simultaneously orchestrating the link between Bible stories and mental health. This is an essential collection that knocks the reader off their feet, embraces them and invites you to survive.” —Raych Jackson, Author of Even the Saints Audition
”’I am learning how to only pray in an honest state / of mind,’ writes Maya Williams near the midpoint of JUDAS & SUICIDE—and their work is a radiant, righteous and restorative guidestar for such a journey. This debut resonates with the boldness and clarity of bell hooks, who challenges us to believe: ‘There can be no love without justice.’ With great ferocity and grace, Williams takes on that faith through these poems. They reckon with the grievances we bear while also illuminating ‘an alternate universe of light that exists out there’ and within all of us.” —R.A. Villanueva, Author of Reliquaria
”There are four poems titled “If You Stop Crying, It Won’t Hurt As Much” in Maya Williams’ poetry collection JUDAS & SUICIDE. In titles such as this, the reader is brought into the tension that is at the heart of so much of this extraordinary collection of poetry: the tension between a title and a line; the tension between wanting help but rejecting unhelpful help; the tension between not wanting to die and wanting to live. In dexterous form, through multiple voices, registers and allusions, Maya Williams asserts a vibrant poetry that has, at its core, understood itself, and asks to be understood.” —Pádraig Ó Tuama, Host of Poetry Unbound with On Being Studios and Author of In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World and Feed the Beast
Author SiteReview @ The Portland Phoenix
Maya Williams (ey/em, they/them, and she/her) is a religious Black multiracial nonbinary suicide survivor who is currently an Ashley Bryan Fellow and the seventh Poet Laureate of Portland, Maine.