Sympathetic Little Monster


ISBN 978193890174
Publication date: May 2016
88 pages, 5.3" x 7"
Read Press Release (PDF)

Sure, I’ve been opened the way girls are opened.
Sure, I’ve gone missing in the dark.

Sure, I’ve looked at my sister & seen a woman
caught in flames. But we have pills for that. 

We have money for pills for that.  



what’s the word for being born of sorrow
that isn’t yours? For having a family? 

For belonging nowhere? Not even
your body. Especially not there.


Cameron Awkward-Rich’s debut is a stunning announcement of a voice that demands we move closer as much as it wishes we’d go away. The ornate emotional terrain of these poems is charted with the poet’s sometimes spare, sometimes wild, always skilled lyric. We are invited into a story Awkward-Rich suggests we “know the words” to, but damn if it doesn’t sound better when this poet tells us. As much about stillness as it is about transition, Sympathetic Little Monster is at once analytical, magical, confessional, dismissive, but ultimately, and simply, a collection breaking new ground in Trans, Queer, Black, and American Letters. For many, Awkward-Rich’s poems will burst open the mind, the heart, and even some doors, but when you get in there, just leave him alone.

 Danez Smith

Cameron Awkward-Rich is the author of the chapbook Transit (Button Poetry, 2015). He is a Cave Canem Fellow, on staff at Muzzle Magazine, and currently a doctoral candidate in Modern Thought & Literature at Stanford University. Sympathetic Little Mon- ster was named a finalist for the National Poetry Series.

Book design by Diana Arterian.

Cover art by Alexandria Smith, entitled "The Rebirth or HeyGirlHey," 2013. Smith is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies including, most recently, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Virginia A. Myers Fellowship at the University of Iowa, A.I.R. Gallery Fellowship, the Fountainhead Residency and the Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship for 2013/14 and 2014/15. Smith lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. 


Excerpt in The Bakery

Excerpt at Cave Canem

Excerpt in Connotation Press

Excerpt in Hobart Pulp

Excerpt in Muzzle Magazine

Excerpt in Nepaltna

Excerpt in The Offing

Excerpt in Poets & Writers

Excerpt in Verse Daily

Finalist for the 2017 CLIMP Firecracker Award

Finalist for the 2017 Lambda Literary Award

Interview at Lambda Literary

Interview at PEN America

Listed on Entropy's Best Poetry Books & Collections of 2016

Review in Maudlin House

Review in Publisher's Weekly



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