Diamond Sharp’s Super Sad Black Girl is a love letter to her hometown of Chicago, where her speaker finds solace and community with her literary idols in the hopes of answering the question: What does it look like when Black women are free?
Lorraine Hansberry and Gwendolyn Brooks appear throughout, counseling the speaker as she navigates her own depression and exploratory questions about the “Other Side,” as do Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, and other Black women who have been murdered by police violence.
Sharp’s poetry is self-assured, playful, and imaginative, reminiscent of Langston Hughes with its precision and brevity. The book explores purgatorial, in-between spaces that the speaker occupies, as she struggles to find a place, a time, where she can live safely and freely. With her skillful use of repetition, particularly with her series of concrete poems, lines and voices echo across the book so the reader, too, feels suspended within Sharp’s lyric moments. Super Sad Black Girl is a compassionate and ethereal depiction of mental illness from a promising and powerful poet.