Profeta Without Refuge by Raina J. León

Profeta Without Refuge by Raina Leon Cover 09.18.2016 v.2.png
Profeta Without Refuge by Raina Leon Cover 09.18.2016 v.2.png

Profeta Without Refuge by Raina J. León


Profeta Without Refuge engages in poetic experimentation through the writing of an Afrocentric and womanist creation myth in resistance to state-sanctioned violence against Black and brown peoples.  The book includes poems in the voices of three characters: the creator goddess of a Black immortal people; her human daughter who carries the vivid memories of generational trauma and joy; and the poet who serves as witness to reality and creator of the surreal as survival mechanism in our tumultuous times. 

What People Are Saying

"Chilling, raw, honest, and brave enough to be felt under the skin, Leon’s aesthetically well-crafted poems in Profeta Without Refuge filled my body with the breath it’s been looking for since the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland. 

These lyrical and experimental poems explore the belief that our bodies are containers of trauma. Whether passed on from one generation to the next or lived in the flesh, the fear, heartbreak, violence, suffering, and anxiety become a part of us and ultimately shape who and what we are and can become. With precise language, eloquent musicality, and harrowing mysticism and metaphor, Raina León is able to articulate both the historical and current suffering experienced by the black community in America.  These poems are inescapable, they hold us captive and demand our attention on the page. Whether we move our eyes from left to right, right to left, or up and down each line, or pick up our cell phones to interact with the text in poems like “code,” she is reminding us that our skin, our body, our blood, and our bones hold and respond to physical and emotional trauma that cannot/should not be forgotten or erased." 

– Jasminne Mendez, International Latino Book Award winner, Island of Dreams

"In Profeta Without Refuge, Leon writes: 'Life requires a haunting'  and then she proceeds to do exactly this by creating a world that acts like a veil to the one we reside in. She has forced a parrallel seeing: black bodies lying in the streets and the constant naming of such violence with the remembering of who we are as a people, our ancestral and godlike abilities, our world full of mysticism and energy. 'Black people have no futures / in sci-fi or horror,' she writes, and yet within the compounds of this text we know that this type of escapism might be the only place where we can safely create our (r)evolutions.  This is an ambitious and profoundly beautiful work that will stay with me the rest of my days."

– Yesenia Montilla, author of The Pink Box (2015), long listed for the Pen Open Book Award 2016

"With dynamic characters and complex narratives, Profeta Without Refuge is a provocative blend of Afro Sci-Fi and eco-poetics that takes on the controversial issues of gender, Black rage, generational trauma, and race. This revolutionary collection is a test of time—for our past, present and future. It’s more than just science and emotions, León makes narrative poetry from the discord of black and brown bodies buried in US history."

— Sarah Rafael García, co-editor of pariahs writing from outside the margins and founder of LibroMobile

Publication Details

All of our books are printed locally in Oakland, CA. We strongly believe in supporting local publishers and local printers. 

September 2016 • 5 x 7 • 44 pp. • Trade Paper

ISBN: 978-0-9981348-0-2

Original front- and back-cover artwork by Livien Yin and Arthur Johnstone

Interior and cover design by J. K. Fowler

Author Details

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Raina Leon reads "Poet: Code's Story," a poem featured in her new chapbook Profeta Without Refuge by Raina J. León out with Nomadic Press this Saturday at Chapter 510 & the Dept. of Make Believe (video taken by Saint Mary's College of California