First Books: Desiree C. Bailey and Aracelis Girmay

Desiree C. Bailey discusses her recent debut, What Noise Against the Cane, with Aracelis Girmay, who reflects on her own first book, Teeth (2007). In partnership with Bowery Poetry.


Desiree C. Bailey is the author of What Noise Against the Cane (Yale University Press, 2021), selected by Carl Phillips as the winner of the 2020 Yale Series of Younger Poets. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago, and is an English teacher in Brooklyn, New York.

Aracelis Girmay is the author of the black maria (BOA Editions, 2016), Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, 2011), winner of the Isabella Poetry Award and a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award, and Teeth (Curbstone Press, 2007). Girmay was awarded a Whiting Award in 2015 and has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Civitella Ranieri, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches and lives in New York City.