ChristmasHanukkahGift IdeasGift CardsToysElectronicsVideo GamesGroceryClothing, Shoes & AccessoriesBeautyBabyHomeFurnitureKitchen & DiningOutdoor Living & GardenSports & OutdoorsMovies, Music & BooksPersonal CareHealthPetsHousehold EssentialsSchool & Office SuppliesArts, Crafts & SewingParty SuppliesCharacter ShopLuggageBlack-owned or founded brands at TargetClearanceTarget New ArrivalsTarget Finds#TargetStyleTop DealsTarget Circle OffersWeekly AdShop Order PickupShop Same Day DeliveryRegistryRedCardTarget CircleFind Stores


Survival Strategies - (National Poetry) by Tennison S Black (Paperback)

Survival Strategies - (National Poetry) by  Tennison S Black (Paperback) - image 1 of 1
Survival Strategies - (National Poetry) by  Tennison S Black (Paperback) - image 1 of 1
$19.99 when purchased online

About this item


Book Synopsis

Survival Strategies is a love story wrapped in a reckoning. Arranged in three parts, this collection of poems follows a narrative arc.The speaker, who is returning to the Sonoran of her birth after many years away, takes us with her on a journey of enlightenment.

In the course of the first section, "The Sunniest Place on Earth," we learn that the speaker has developed a deep hatred of the desert (a reflection of herself) due to the way she was treated and what she witnessed while being raised there. As we move through to part 2, "Estivate So You Don't Die," we see the speaker grappling with her past as a sensitive person amid the rugged realities of life in the Southwest. As this section closes, there is a long-form prose poem assembled as a mythopoetic fable titled, "The Mother and the Mountain," that explores her mother's childhood. This section brings revelation to some of what precedes it and reveals the speaker as the buttress of this family who, though an outsider, walks a path first laid by her mother. The final section is titled simply, "After," and as its title suggests, is a short set of poems that wrap up the arc and bring peace to our speaker as she comes to realize she never hated the desert, nor herself, as she is set free by the ocean of the Pacific Northwest.

Review Quotes

I've not been to the Southwest in over a decade, but Tennison Black's Survival Strategies teleports me into the beauty and brutality of that region and its history with impeccable ease. Here we find the 'glory of the jackrabbit, 'the scorpion disguised as a boy, ' but also 'the velvet muzzle.' It is landscape at war with itself that Black sketches with impressive personal detail. This is easily one of the best books of poetry I've read this year.--Kyle McCord "author of Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult"

In Survival Strategies, we register some familiar tropes: women as rivers, men as mountains, a landscape readily metaphorized to explain conflict between the sexes. Here, a child studies the (of course) conscienceless Sonoran desert as if it could reveal the mysteries of her abusive, often absent, cowboy father or explain her mother--'a tempest, an alluvial slope'--who, eventually, fled the desert and the man. Familiar, yes, since these dynamics and the pain of being endangered by them have recurred and recurred, despite the first-, third-, how-many? waves. Tennison Black brings that landscape to life around a speaker who, in childhood, 'brinked between girl and indignant, ' who couldn't form a self without rebuke from the man or resignation from the woman, whose definitions of both self and love were wrought in deprivation and violence. And yet: Love floods this book, whose dare is to look trauma in its venomous eye--and choose 'am-ing, be-ing, staying put.'--Sally Ball "author of Hold Sway"

Tennison Black's mesmerizing debut collection, Survival Strategies, is a searching exploration of the poet's deep roots in southern Arizona's 'cowboy culture, ' which she witnessed from the inside as a child. Having rejected her origins in that 'scratchy way of living' that was her father's working ranch in Yuma, Black returns to confront and exorcise the violence that traumatized her. With grace and grit, Black creates a stunning portrait of the ethos of a male dominance (of nature, animals, and women) that haunts us all today. The prose fable that concludes this brilliant collection has the largesse of a vision. This book augurs a major new poet!--Cynthia Hogue "author of instead, it is dark"

The desert accomplishes the utmost of Vision by translating absence into presence, nullity into singularity. In Survival Strategies, Tennison Black has shaped a language perfectly attuned to the mothering silences of the desert. With each poem, experience--whether tender or catastrophic--is birthed into new competence and clarity. There is a profound and literal refreshment in this book, one urgently needed now.--Donald Revell "author of White Campion"

The Sonoran desert, invoked through saguaros, scorpions, jackrabbits, coyotes, and cowboys, is nearly a character in these fierce poems, which chronicle the poet's return to a place that 'has been trying to kill me since I was born.' Recurring images of place, along with a unifying narrative, give Survival Strategies the texture of a repeating form on a large scale, as the boundaries between the landscape and one family living in it begin to dissolve. This oneness reaches its crescendo in an original fable, 'The Mother and the Mountain, ' which begins: 'My mother was a bajada. That is, an alluvial fan that settled at the base of a mountain.' Alive with hard-earned understanding and affirmation, these poems are for everyone who ever tried to leave a formative place of pain but found that person and place could never be fully untwined.--Adrienne Su "author of Peach State"

About the Author

TENNISON S. BLACK is the managing editor of Sundress Publications and Best of the Net. They received an MFA at Arizona State University, and their work has appeared or is forthcoming in SWWIM, Hotel Amerika, Booth, Wordgathering, and New Mobility, among others. They live in Washington State.
Dimensions (Overall): 8.5 Inches (H) x 5.5 Inches (W) x .23 Inches (D)
Weight: .29 Pounds
Suggested Age: 22 Years and Up
Series Title: National Poetry
Sub-Genre: Subjects & Themes
Genre: Poetry
Number of Pages: 96
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Theme: Family
Format: Paperback
Author: Tennison S Black
Language: English
Street Date: September 15, 2023
TCIN: 89625365
UPC: 9780820365152
Item Number (DPCI): 247-35-6956
Origin: Made in the USA or Imported
If the item details above aren’t accurate or complete, we want to know about it.

Shipping details

Estimated ship dimensions: 0.23 inches length x 5.5 inches width x 8.5 inches height
Estimated ship weight: 0.29 pounds
We regret that this item cannot be shipped to PO Boxes.
This item cannot be shipped to the following locations: United States Minor Outlying Islands, American Samoa (see also separate entry under AS), Puerto Rico (see also separate entry under PR), Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands, U.S., APO/FPO, Guam (see also separate entry under GU)

Return details

This item can be returned to any Target store or
This item must be returned within 90 days of the date it was purchased in store, shipped, delivered by a Shipt shopper, or made ready for pickup.
See the return policy for complete information.

Get top deals, latest trends, and more.

Privacy policy


About Us

About TargetCareersNews & BlogTarget BrandsBullseye ShopTarget's Coronavirus ResponseSustainability & ESGPress CenterAdvertise with UsInvestorsAffiliates & PartnersSuppliersTargetPlus


Target HelpReturnsTrack OrdersRecallsContact UsFeedbackAccessibilitySecurity & FraudTeam Member Services


Find a StoreClinicPharmacyOpticalMore In-Store Services


Target CircleRedCardTarget AppRegistrySame Day DeliveryOrder PickupDrive UpFree 2-Day ShippingShipping & DeliveryMore Services
PinterestFacebookInstagramTwitterYoutubeTiktokTermsCA Supply ChainPrivacyCA Privacy RightsYour Privacy ChoicesInterest Based Ads