"Winner of the Greece's Eyelands International Poetry Book Award"
When a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome, Neal Hall was stopped at gunpoint by a member of the Italian special forces. His offense: being black while walking about in an affluent white district. The soldier profiled him as an illegal African alien. By chance, the colorcoded indignity fell on the Ides of March, the day Caesar was assassinated. This coincidence inspired Hall to take a deep dive into Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Thought the first of its kind, the hybrid poetic narratives emerging from this exploration interweave Shakespearean tools with those of Hall's own craft and speak in direct, powerful new ways to universal contemporary issues of freedom and equality. The poems, by providing new prisms through which to view today's power constructs, challenge the reader to recognize the coded and decoded socio-political-economic struggles of marginalized people today and to question for whom liberty's bell truly tolls.