I first read one of Kamilah Aisha Moon's poems over ten years ago. One of her pieces "Daughter-to-Father Talk" appeared in the anthology Bum Rush the Page (2001). Perhaps I came across her name and poems in magazines over the years, but I distinctly remember noticing her work in a few different anthologies in recent years: Gathering Ground (2006), Ringing Ear (2007), and Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (2009).
Those previous individual poems by Moon hadn't prepared me for her volume She Has a Name. Prior to the publication of Tyehimba Jess's Leadbelly, I came across poems on the subject, the same with Matejka's The Big Smoke about Jack Johnson. Accordingly, the poems in Moon's book came to me as a surprise.
Reading the poems in book fresh has been a good experience. I'm encountering the premise of the book for the first time. And as I was noting, that's certainly a positive, given that the book expands my thinking about autism, a subject that I had not come across in many of the previous volumes I've read.
On the other hand, I wish that there were more viable and visible outlets for "previews" of upcoming volumes of poetry. Although I blog about poetry and poets quite a bit, I still do not have a systematic way of learning about upcoming publications. That's my problem, of course, but it also seems like a challenge for poets and the overall field or market.
A notebook on Kamilah Aisha Moon