“This [Cotton] is a poignant collection of poetry that truly captures the experiences of Black Americans. Read it and be enlightened.”
Pavita Singh, Editor, pavEDITa
“This work [Cotton], as I’m sure you know, is beyond brilliant. Emanating from the pages […], I can really feel the passion that runs through your mind when you’re piecing these works together. But passion doesn’t make good poetry. Your expert use of the English language and literary technique, combined with your passion and emotion, makes good poetry, and I’m blessed to have been able to have read it.”
Hakeem Angulu, Harvard College
“Let me start off by saying that even the highest expectations I had for this book [Cotton] were blown out of the water. This is amazing. I was so impressed by the way you easily and expertly switch between voices and characters. There were times when I could hear the Najya I know reading the poems out to me (even some of the ones I had never heard before). There were other times where you seamlessly and effortlessly transported me to a completely different time and place, and I felt like I was reading an excerpt from a journal or listening into a prayer.”
Tatiana Patino, Harvard College
“The way [Najya] pieces together words on paper to create a dance on your tongue and an ache in your heart is divine and one of a kind. How she found all the right words for this moment in time, I will never know. Read it [Cotton]. You will feel in your physical body a range of emotions you never knew you had, and know by the end of it, you will feel like you have found a sister. I have read and re-read, gifted, cried over, healed, and gleamed empathy through works from a very select group [of] women of color poets: Claudia Rankine, Rupi Kaur, Sarah Kay, and Warsan Shire. Today, to my delight, I have added [Najya] Williams to this group of incredible and unapologetic sisters.”
Sarah Hsu, The Milken Scholars Program
“Your poetry is all at the same time astonishingly truthful, gritty, and uplifting. While I was moved to tears at some passages, the clear message of exhorting one to be their best selves was palpable.
Any person who wishes to read Cotton should be prepared to experience passion, confusion, desperation, anguish, and finally, determination — that the world can and should be an equal place for all people. What a thought provoking volume — I look forward to the day where your words inspire an entire generation of people to change the world!”
Linda Larson, The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
“Cotton is a refreshing collection capturing both the essence and struggle of black womanhood but marrying these experiences with new and old age experiences of race. Williams’ fluid but pointed words exude not just descriptions of experiences but the raw and in many cases unexposed feelings and emotions that accompany experiences of black womanhood and race. Any and all should pick up this read to not only reminisce and find a speckle of oneself sewn in each page, but also to experience and participate in the raw and needed exposure of blackness, womanhood and plain old life and how this impacts mental wellness and healthiness. A must read for all!”
Lauren Carson, Executive Director/Founder Black Girls Smile Inc.
“Choosing to act in the face of deadly assaults is not simply an act of will, as Najya Williams reminds us throughout this book [Cotton]. It requires a sense of community and affirmation, along with a deep grounding in history. With lines like “I imagine this is how my slave ancestors felt/Silenced/Rid of their tongue/Not because they didn’t know how to fight/They felt trapped between saving their future children/ And keeping the living ones safe”– Williams weaves together past, present and future in a powerful call to celebrate and fight for the power and beauty of Black lives in America.”
Dr. Phyllis Mentzell Ryder, Associate Professor of Writing, Director of Writing Center, The George Washington University
“This was more than a book of well written, thought provoking poetry. This was a coming of age for a whole race of people who have been separated from their original roots. As the pieces build, so does the writer’s passion and the reader’s confidence. Each piece holds it’s own merit, but together, Cotton is a force. ”
Folasade Ogunmokun, Unskrypted TV