Calliope Group, the skin of dreams, Win NYC Big Book Award

The Calliope Group has received a Distinguished Favorites prize from the New York City Big Book Award for the skin of dreams by Quraysh Ali Lansana. The book was honored in the Best Design category.

“We’re proud the skin of dreams was recognized for its beautiful design,” says Shawn Crawford, publisher of The Calliope Group. “We especially want to thank Byron Shen for his artwork, Quraysh Ali Lansana for his vision, and our design team for putting the book together. Calliope hoped the artistry of the book would be as impressive as the artistry of Lansana’s poems.”

The annual New York City Big Book Award recognizes excellence in a variety of genres and for outstanding book design. Entries this year included submissions from Australia, Cambodia, Canada, England and the US.

Other winners included New York Times bestseller author Lev Grossman’s The Magicians: Alice’s Story, a graphic novel, and A River Could be a Tree, a memoir by Angela Himsel.

the skin of dreams, Quraysh Ali Lansana’s first new and collected poems, is a remembering, an offering and a gathering of geographies. Traversing twenty-three years of earth and breath, the book roadmaps small town Oklahoma to southside Chicago in compelling poems that question, surprise and dare. As a direct descendent of the Black Arts Movement and last student of Miss Gwendolyn Brooks, Lansana explores the complicated internal and external terrain of Blackness and history from a post-King, post-Kennedy childhood through the election of the first non-White president while grappling with the definition of home. These are poems that cry, sing, scream and see.

Quraysh Ali Lansana is the author of eight books of poetry in addition to textbooks and works for children. A former faculty member of both the Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Drama Division of The Juilliard School, Lansana served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University and was an Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing. His work Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by the Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. His most recent books include The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience & Change Agent, with Georgia A. Popoff (Haymarket Books, 2017) and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop with Kevin Coval and Nate Marshall (Haymarket Books, 2015). Lansana’s work appears in Best American Poetry 2019, and he is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.

Calliope’s first title of 2019, the skin of dreams was released April 27th. Their most recent release on November 4th, American Neolithic, is a novel of speculative fiction set in the near-future.

The Calliope Group is an independent publisher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Titles can be ordered directly from The Calliope Group at, at independent bookstores, and online through all major sites including Amazon and Apple Books.