Paperback Price: $15.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-882295-90-6


Selected Poem
Press Kit

The Curtis Institute speaks



She just wasn’t good enough
Didn’t stick to the score improvised
We train classical musicians

We heard jungle music in her score
This is the Curtis Institute not church
She just wasn’t good enough

She had a great talent—sure
Only the best get in Curtis
We train classical musicians

Bach, Chopin, Beethoven nothing more
Each of them played with brilliance
She just wasn’t good enough
No genius – unrefined, primitive
Not up to our standards not prepared
We train classical musicians

She was too dark too blue
Made us feel unsure impure
We train classical musicians
She just wasn’t

me and Nina


ForeWord Reviews‘ 2012 Book of the Year Award Finalist
2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Finalist

“The message in the so-sick-it muse ic is all on the cover, O’Jays style. The bills are pressing but this book (a We) can help you (Now!) gain a stamp of heritage, your own postal traveling shoes, in the office of International (if not Domestic) Acceptance especially if the real tradition, a mature Langston Hughes in a hat, frames your introduction.”
Boston Review

“Hand feels Simone’s life as if she herself is living it; as if Simone’s ghosts have leapt into her—and she makes artful poems as their hearts beat in her own body.”
The Mom Egg

“Hand varies the form and voices in her poems deftly into a contemporary blues that speaks to a woman’s creative challenges within the streams of family that flows in unpredictable rhythms.”
On the Seawall

“…like ‘two souls in a duet.’”
Library Journal

“When a poem is good, I feel it in my body…a commotion in my pit…this is a collection of commotion.”
Yes, Poetry

“Monica A. Hand’s me and Nina is a beautiful book by a soul survivor. In these poems she sings deep songs of violated intimacy and the hard work of repair. The poems are unsentimental, blood-red, and positively true, note for note, like the singing of Nina Simone herself. Hand has written a moving, deeply satisfying, and unforgettable book.”
—Elizabeth Alexander

“In me and Nina Monica A. Hand depicts, as Nina Simone did, what it is to be gifted and Black in America. She shifts dynamically through voices and forms homemade, received and re-imagined to conjure the music (and Muses) of art and experience. This is a debut fiercely illuminated by declaration and song.”
—Terrance Hayes

“Monica A. Hand sings us a crushed velvet requiem of Nina Simone. She plumbs Nina’s mysterious bluesline while recounting the scars of her own overcoming. Hand joins the chorus of shouters like Patricia Smith and Wanda Coleman in this searchlight of a book, bearing her voice like a torch for all we’ve gained and lost in the heat of good song.”
―Tyehimba Jess

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