The much-awaited second book by a truly revolutionary poet, in the lineage of Gil Scott-Heron, Allen Ginsberg, and Audre Lorde.


This is truly revolutionary poetry. A vortex of images, observations, inspired leaps and free associations spills forth from a choir living in oppression and transience. Moments of political and spiritual convergence, surrealism and blunt materiality, gangsterism and its husk, revolution and perseverance, are captured in the music of metaphor and pure intention.


"The tesseraic language of Tongo Eisen-Martin's Heaven Is All Goodbyes brings a new, shared articulation to the intricacies and interconnections of grief and life, speech and site, state and inhabitant, violence and landscape. Here, polyvocal assemblages gather and revolt against our 'porcelain epoch / succeeding for the most part / dying for the most part / married for the most part to its death.' This is resistance as sound."––Claudia Rankine


"I don't know that there is a living writer whose work loves Black people as much as Tongo Eisen-Martin's work loves us. In Heaven Is All Goodbyes, like all of Eisen-Martin's work, this Black love is not clumsy, easy, sentimental or reliant on spectacle. That Black love lives in the cracked history and ambient future of who we've been in the dark, and what's been done to us in the light. These poems somehow watch and listen without intervening. And when they ask, they ask everything. Heaven Is All Goodbyes makes me want to live, and write, with us forever."––Kiese Laymon, author of Long Division


"What a wonderful feeling for life. If we are born—we will die. If we love––we will be rejected. If we are rejected––we will leave. The balance of these poems, one against another, gives us laughter, love and hope. Heaven isn't goodbye––it's only the next stop on our heart's journey."––Nikki Giovanni


"Yet again Tongo Eisen-Martin employs his blade-sharp intellect, his wry and piercing wit and unflinching candor to make poems that matter. This collection demands that the reader sees more than themselves––both on the page and in the surrounding world. The poems beg to be read aloud, to be pronounced as spells and incantations, as reports back from communities both known and shrouded. Read this work. Then read it again. Again. Again."––Chinaka Hodge, author of Dated Emcees

Heaven Is All Goodbyes (Pocket Poets Series No. 61) by Tongo Eisen-Martin

  • City Lights Publishers 2017

    New paperback

    136 pages