This year, I was particularly excited to read Shara McCallum’s No Ruined Stone, a collection that imagines the life of poet Robert Burns if he had left Scotland to serve as a bookkeeper in Jamaica, the country of McCallum’s birth. She imagines a world so close to having existed, one in which Burns has a great-granddaughter born to an enslaved Black woman who must navigate the convergence of race, violence, colonialism, and inheritance in her world. Shara and I have spent many years discussing research and the archive, so it was such a gift to finally see these poems come to life.

Chet’la Sebree
The Millions