paper • 90 pages • 15.95
ISBN-13: 978-1-945588-04-4

Aaron Coleman is the winner of the 2020 GLCA New Writers Award for Poetry for his collection Threat Come Close.

Threat Come Close

Aaron Coleman

Longlisted for The Believer Book Award.
2019 Society of Midlands Poetry Honoree.

In his debut collection, Aaron Coleman writes an American anthem for the 21st century, a full-throated lyric composed of pain, faith, lust and vulnerability. Coleman’s poems comment on and interrogate the meaning of home and identity for a black man in America, past and present. Guided by a belief system comprising an eclectic array of invented saints — Trigger, Seduction, Doubt and Who — Coleman’s quest locates new ways of being in the natural world where “[t]he trees teach me how to break and keep on living.”

“Vestigia” from Threat Come Close:

The trees teach me how to break and keep on living. Patience
and nuance and another kind of strength. That kind of life
wrought from water and mineral iron and loss, the perpetual loss
that emanates from underneath tongues, leaves. The hush splayed
across the jungle made of memory. More fearful for its lack
of movement. The sad lusciousness our eyes reason from a world
on pause. Motionless green. What we touch and see, immediate
as steam, then gone, collected. Tense, wet beads full of secrets; how
to make a branch long. Nothing swaying the weight of the trees.


Praise by Terrance Hayes
Praise by Shane McCrae
Praise by Diane Seuss
Praise by Brian Fanelli for 4squarereview
Praise by Barbara Hoffert for Library Journal
Praise by Julia Cirignano
Praise by Ron Slate for On the Seawall
Praise by Cassandra Cleghorn for Tupelo Quarterly

“In Threat Come Close Aaron Coleman’s tremendous compassion rides the rails of lyrical, intellectual, and technical acuity. ‘I am a half question,’ he writes early in ‘On Forgiveness.’ ‘I am what was taken from me / and I am what was given back,’ he writes in ‘These Miles.’ ‘I am my imagination,’ he writes in ‘Black Objector in the Soldiers’ Chapel.’ Quizzical, idiosyncratic, and blood-fueled: this extraordinary debut epitomizes how the best of our contemporary poetry sings.” — Terrance Hayes

Threat Come Close is a book of questioning. But it is also a book of love poems. But it is also a book of confrontations with history. Aaron Coleman assumes the freedom to write from blackness—a freedom the black American poet must always seize because it is a freedom that is never simply granted—about blackness, but also about masculinity and black masculinity, and, especially beautifully, about bodies and black bodies: ‘Give / a secret to a being. Each / collapsed. Complete. Fever made of touch.’ What are we if we are not that fever? But also what is America if it is not that fever?” — Shane McCrae

“The poems of Threat Come Close spin with the incremental elegance of a double-helix. They quarry and divulge the deepest reaches of an endangered self, ‘alive and black surrounded by such isolated white . . . a traditional form / of American chaos.’ They sing from a bridge that trembles beneath the weight of the song, sliding between apparent reversals: Amnesia sways into nostalgia, story gives way to song, and song to contemplation. Reliable form buckshots into fragment. Breaking breaks open. The violence out there is the book’s frame, and its defining question, more threatening still, and more brave: ‘But what if we are made of this violence?’ The poems are kinetic in that there is no resting place between the yearning for home—in an imagined South, in a body unpossessed by surfaces—and the threat of containment, of being encaged, owned. In fact, the self here is both lavish ‘midnight peacock’ and cage, as is the poem. Whitman-like in its expansiveness, with Dickinson’s ferocious interiority, this collection represents the ravishing next step in American poetry.” — Diane Seuss

“Against the backdrop of the NFL protests, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the Trump administration’s erosion of civil liberties and encouragement of racial profiling through the travel ban, Aaron Coleman’s debut full-length collection, Threat Come Close, feels urgent….” — Brian Fanelli, 4squarereview

“… the emotion is real.” Read the full review.

“…I was instantly drawn in by Coleman’s vivid language, daring metaphors, and delightfully crude stanzas….” Read the full review.

“…Coleman’s generosity is located in the space he provides for us to respond to the four questions of ‘St. Who.’ He resides among the questioners, opening up to the sounds that expedite potential answers. Each of us resembles this speaking presence…Threat Come Close is dense with a recognizable world…” Read the full review.

“…When I read Aaron Coleman’s poems, I want to draw their forms: intricate, precise, relentless, necessary. I would use carmine, charcoal, clay slip, and gilt to convey his attention to bodies broken and burned, to places of refuge and dream, and to the sparkle and shock of language itself….” Read the full review.