“I hurtle down a mountain / chasing my tranquil imagination,” writes Luther Kissam in his brilliant, restless, and abundant debut collection, Have I Told You About My Superpowers. Echoing the personalism of Frank O’Hara, these poems are both urbane and interior, ironic and sincere. Like Anne Sexton, this poet has worked for emotional stability through psychiatry, meditation, and many other modes of self-care. He can claim with hard-won certainty that “life is a rational choice because this song / playing is worth listening to again, / damnit, and again and again.” With candor, affection, in pain and in cheer, these poems articulate awareness of what a good life really is. These are poems in which an honest-to-goodness superhero sings, rescuing us in our distress.”

Christopher Davis, Author of A History of the Only War and Professor of Creative Writing at University of North Carolina at Charlotte

“Luther Kissam provides us with a first-hand experience of his journey with bipolar disorder. He unapologetically gives us a glimpse into his reality and the reality of many others: a tumultuous wave of manic highs and depressed lows. Throughout his journey he finds peace and stability, bringing a message of hope to those who suffer.”

Dr. Kevin Marra, M.D. Psychiatrist and Director of Medical Services, Hopeway Foundation

“In one unabashedly honest and vulnerable poem after another, Luther Kissam’s Have I Told You About My Superpowers takes us on a journey from mania to acceptance to dancing along the thin edge of suicide to an approximation of peace. In the opening poem, he is ‘inevitably manic / sailing with planets.’ In the final poem, he wakes at six in the morning every day to ‘write, / read, and drink decaffeinated coffee for an hour. I watch / the Sun rise. Then, I practice gratitude. I really do…/ Still, I miss mania. / Still, depression lulls me in.’ Have I Told You About My Superpowers isn’t so much about healing; it’s about undertaking the process to healing, about not giving up on the self – no matter how fraught it may be – and where that journey takes us. Is the body cured by poetry, mood stabilizers, therapy, faith? No. But is the body made better by it? Yes, Kissam, argues from ‘this treatment center of hope.’ Yes!”

Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, Author of Ghost Gear

Luther Kissam takes his readers on a journey, no, a ride, through the workings of a highly-interesting and taut young mind. His ability to put just the exact image, the precise word, the bracingly relevant spin on the action in the poem, is craft beyond his years. You can be in these works, or be just, barely removed, too. But his ability to dive into the meaning of his thoughts, makes them into a mosaic of experience that is at once deeply personal and relatable, and fresh and original. His words are more than poems for the discerning reader, they are little prayers, balms, to anyone wishing to understand their own sometimes unwired thoughts and experiences.”

Christine Arvidson, Author of The House Inside My Head and Professor of Creative Writing at University of North Carolina at Charlotte