"There are moments in Yalie Kamara’s A Brief Biography of My Name where the words disappear, leaving the reader with nothing but feeling, and the sound of their own breathing. Subjects of her poems grab the mike, speaking back to her. Her poems cross the distance between the poet’s memory and the reader’s mind, creating an intimacy that is not always pleasurable, even if always truthful...
Kamara’s voice emanates from the pages, recalling the oral origins of poetry; an affirmation of community; a sound that crumbles defenses and rationality; sure as a drum, as an instrument; from the opening poem until the last line dies into the silence that birthed it. This is life, given a proper and delicious weight."—Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, writer and performance artist, author of Original Skin
“A luminescent collection. To read Yalie Kamara’s first book is to welcome a wholly original new voice into the American chorus — a searching, joyful, wry, aching voice — and know she will be heard from as long as she has breath.”— Dave Eggers, author of A Hologram for the King and The Circle
"When The Living Sing is a stunning and lush collection, teeming with bright music. Here, the mouth is a doorway and a dirge to what beckons and consumes the speaker’s tongue declaring, 'I become a lyre bird mimicking their sound, unsure of what grief means in the hyphen of my African and American throat.' Here, the “pulpy lava bullet” of the Malombo Fruit tethers memory to family in Sierra Leone and Oakland, California. Here, the elegy is housed in the sanctuary of praise by traversing the distances woven with slices of Krio, Black death, and always finding joy amidst sorrow. Yalie Kamara is a poet with a gorgeous and wild imagination that conjures the “opal hue of God’s touch” and the 'blueberry gauze of nightfall.' I never wanted the chapbook to end."—Tiana Clark, author of Equilibrium