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South Florida poet debuts collection about the beauty and pain in Blackness

In his debut poetry collection, Darius V. Daughtry, poet and educator, has penned an introspective poetic memoir and sweeping cultural critique that will leave readers both euphoric and enraged. The collection, And The Walls Came Tumbling, which will be released on Tuesday, January 15, details his journey as a Black child growing into a man, from his influences and passions, and now, the lessons he’s passing on to the next generation – all in a melodic rhythm with undertones of hip-hop influences.


The book is equal parts praise dance and eulogy. It is full of vulnerable, introspective poems that explore societal constructs - race, class, gender – and questions their existence in our lives.


Here’s what P. Scott Cunningham, founder of the O, Miami Poetry Festival had to say about the collection – “And The Walls Came Tumbling is a celebration and a warning. Darius Daughtry waxes nostalgic about the early days of hip-hop, first love, and family, while also naming the danger that is being black in America. “Anywhere could be where my black gets me dead,” he writes. Here we find the pockets of joy to be found inside the sunshine state as well as the threat of violence that is as ever-present as the humidity. We find traditional forms, sonnets and odes, handled with precision, as well as a playlist turned into a poem and a golden shovel that would surely make Gwendolyn Brooks stand up and clap. This is a book that says poetry in Florida is alive and well.”


As a former public school teacher, Darius aims to create work that sparks conversation and causes people to ask questions. His goal is for people to see themselves and experiences in the work and be inspired by it – particularly young people.


“Sometimes many people think that they are alone in their experiences. Through And The Walls Came Tumbling, I want my poems to hold a mirror to people. I want people to connect to it – the good and the bad,” said Darius. “Growing up, one of the things that connected me to other people and gave me a sense of belonging was hip hop. Now, I hope that my poems will be that connection for others.”


In addition, the book features cover art by Nathan Delinois, also known as Nate Dee – a popular muralist and street artist whose work has graced many walls throughout the United States and internationally. In South Florida, his work has prominently been featured on public walls from Wynwood to Ft. Lauderdale. The South Florida-born artist created the cover specifically for this collection.