“'Queer utopians think human beings are perfectible / but we’re not, we’re just correctable.' So begins one poem in Cyree Jarelle Johnson’s so-good-I-want-to-quote-every-last-line debut collection. But these two lines contain the central explosion and, though they sound like a statement, the central question of SLINGSHOT―What happens after the admission, the recognition of the fact that not everything is salvageable, that some things must go? The answers are various, are voracious: sometimes, zines; sometimes, toe-sucking; sometimes, 'ominous petrichor'; sometimes, total exhaustion over the so-called allies who bring 'a big ass pot of raw beans and rice with a lonely fucking bay leaf'; sometimes, 'burn manhood / down in button up crop tops.' And sometimes, Chewbacca. Johnson’s language here is restlessly inventive while acknowledging how tiring it is to always, always invent, reinvent―and some things don’t deserve to be reinvented. 'Oh please,” one poem says about America, 'Oh please / let it burn down this time.'”―Chen Chen

"Nothing short of magnificent, Johnson jailbreaks language to speak ambitious, rigorous lyrics of Black/trans/disabled/ sex working story. At times I screamed out loud at the wonderousness of the work. Slingshot is the next generation of Black disabled genius poetics, and I'm in awe and grateful."―Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

"Cyree Jarelle Johnson writes us into a magnified intimacy, a textured devastation, a web that can be stretched, folded and replanted in a backroom, on the subway, and between lungs. SLINGSHOT establishes the conditions for its readability by entangling us in its refusals. Its density drags us across the riverbed of language with unforgiving and unapologetic force."―Raquel Salas Rivera



“Two Poems” Selected by Kay Ulanday Barrett



JANUARY 2018 II “Medicaid work requirements, coupled with a lack of legal protections for those dealing with a potentially disabling condition, leaves trans people in an untenable position.”

FEBRUARY 2018 II “It is true that the word “hotep” is sometimes weaponized and mocked as lacking rigor and as exemplifying a crude, anti-feminist doctrine; Hollywood Forever reveals what it could mean if these emergent philosophies were taken completely seriously.”

AUGUST 2018 II “Wokewashing uses social justice terms to excuse the inexcusable and allows bigots to hide behind irrelevant marginalizations while causing real harm to multiple-marginalized people.”

JULY 2018 II “Public libraries incubate working-class brilliance, and privatizing them would be a terrible injustice.”

For Disabled Sex Workers, Congress’ Anti-Trafficking Legislation Is Life Threatening—REWIRE NEWS

JULY 2018 II "Sex work is sometimes the only option to make the exorbitant amount of money medical bills and other living expenses require with relative speed, without waiting for reimbursement or approval."


JULY 2019 II Micaiah Carter’s boundless New York Pride portraits

JULY 2018 II “Libraries are more than just book warehouses, says @cyreejarelle— many provide GED programs, aid to job seekers, and services for the homeless.”

ROOTED IN RIGHTS— “Activist Spotlight”

OCTOBER 2017 II “‘I don’t think people are talking about lupus correctly yet,’ says Cyree, who hopes that more people will become invested if they know more about lupus.” (PHOTO BY NICOLE MYLES, 2015)

MASHABLE—“7 activists tell us the best thing about being autistic”

APRIL 2017 II "Best of all, I can't fake it. While both extremes tend to overwhelm neurotypicals, not enough time is spent praising autistic people for our lack of pretense, our ability to be radically genuine. It takes too much energy for me to put on airs, so I don't. This can manifest as tactlessness or as 'an overshare,' but I'm not afraid to say what I feel needs to be said."