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From National Book Award finalist Amber McBride, a mystical, transcendent poetry collection about Black womanhood in the American South

In Thick with Trouble, award-winning poet Amber McBride interrogates if being “trouble”—difficult, unruly, fearsome, defiant—is ultimately a weakness or an incomparable source of strength. Steeped in the Hoodoo spiritual tradition and organized via reimagined tarot cards, this collection becomes a chorus of unapologetic women who laugh, cry, mesmerize, and bring outsiders to their knees.


Summoning the supernatural to examine death, rebirth, and life outside the male gaze, Amber McBride has crafted a haunting, spellbinding, and strikingly original collection of poems that reckon with the force and complexity of Black womanhood.


“Reading Thick With Trouble by Amber McBride is the hoodoo holler handbook to counteract what ills us in this bleeding ‘house that drips’ called America. Here, freedom fights fluidly against spiritual and physical oppositions where ‘a ghost can’t write a ghost story,’ but a Black woman can ‘gospel us into folklore.’ I stand in awe before this offering of dark principles, divinations at the blade edge of an enjambment, and dire metamorphoses. ‘Prayer rubs soft, gives way to clouds— /skulls crack and crack,’ she writes, and I believe in the prophet of this forecast. So should you.”


—Phillip B. Williams, author of Mutiny

“Thick with Trouble is a collection that sings like a chorus, an evocative and ancient kind of singing, incantatory and empowered. With poetic forms that challenge and surprise, Thick with Trouble is a knowing debut that subverts perceptions with lyricism, and calls upon the supernatural and ancestral to complicate and enlighten our collective gaze.”


—Rio Cortez, author of Golden Ax

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