We Are Owed. by Ariana Brown
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full length book of poetry — 6 x 9 | 98 pp.
release date: July 29th, 2021
DIGITAL EDITION: here
We Are Owed. is the debut poetry collection of Ariana Brown, exploring Black relationality in Mexican and Mexican American spaces. Through poems about the author’s childhood in Texas and a trip to Mexico as an adult, Brown interrogates the accepted origin stories of Mexican identity. We Are Owed asks the reader to develop a Black consciousness by rejecting U.S., Chicano, and Mexican nationalism and confronting anti-Black erasure and empire-building. As Brown searches for other Black kin in the same spaces through which she moves, her experiences of Blackness are placed in conversation with the histories of formerly enslaved Africans in Texas and Mexico. Esteban Dorantes, Gaspar Yanga, and the author’s Black family members and friends populate the book as a protective and guiding force, building the “we” evoked in the title and linking Brown to all other African-descended peoples living in what Saidiya Hartman calls “the afterlife of slavery.”
Ariana Brown is a queer Black Mexican American poet from the Southside of San
Antonio, TX. She is the author of the poetry chapbook Sana Sana (Game Over Books,
2020). Ariana’s work investigates queer Black personhood in Mexican American
spaces, Black relationality and girlhood, loneliness, and care. She holds a B.A.
in Mexican American Studies and African Diaspora Studies from UT Austin, an M.F.A.
in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh, and an M.L.S. in Library and Information
Science from the University of North Texas (2022). Ariana is a 2014 national collegiate
poetry slam champion and owes much of her practice to Black performance
communities led by Black women poets from the South. She has been writing,
performing, and teaching poetry for over ten years. Lesson plans, Spanish
translations of her poems, and other resources are available on her website at