Taylor Byas reads from new collection, I Done Clicked My Heals Three Times
September 14 @ 8:00 pm EDT
Join us for a special reading event, as we welcome Taylor Byas to the Unicorn Stage, touring in support of her new poetry collection, I Done Clicked My Heals Three Times (Soft Skull, 2023). After the reading, Taylor will be joined in conversation by Starr Davis.Inspired by The Wiz, this debut, full-length poetry collection celebrates South Side Chicago and a Black woman’s quest for self-discovery—one that pulls her away from the safety of home and into her power.
I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times takes its inspiration and concept from the cult classic film The Wiz to explore a Black woman’s journey out of the South Side of Chicago and into adulthood. The narrative arc of The Wiz—a tumultuous departure from home, trials designed to reveal new things about the self, and the eventual return home—serves as a loose trajectory for this collection, pulling readers through an abandoned barn, a Wendy’s drive-thru, a Beyoncé video, Grandma’s house, Sunday service, and the corner store. At every stop, the speaker is made to confront her womanhood, her sexuality, the visibility of her body, alcoholism in her family, and various ways in which narratives are imposed on her.
Subverting monolithic ideas about the South Side of Chicago, and re-casting the city as a living, breathing entity, I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times spans sestinas, sonnets, free-verse, and erasures, all to reimagine the concept of home. Chicago isn’t just a city, but a teacher, a lingering shadow, a way of seeing the world.
Taylor Byas is a Black Chicago native currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the 1st place winner of the 2020 Poetry Super Highway, the 2020 Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets Contests, and the 2021 Adrienne Rich Poetry Prize. She is the author of the chapbooks Bloodwarm and Shutter.
Starr Davis is a poet and essayist whose work has been featured in multiple literary venues such as The Kenyon Review, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, the Rumpus, and Catapult. She is a 2021–2022 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellow and the creative nonfiction editor for TriQuarterly. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the City College of New York and a BA in journalism and creative writing from the University of Akron. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry and creative nonfiction, Best of the Net, and Best American Essays.