University of Wisconsin Press colophon



University of Wisconsin Madison crest that links to main university site

Association of University Presses member logo that links to main AUPresses site



Catalog Archive / Fall 2022

American Sex Tape™

Wisconsin Poetry Series
Sean Bishop and Jesse Lee Kercheval, Series Editors
Ronald Wallace, Founding Series Editor

Winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, selected by Brian Teare

“Every now and then, but rarely, a book of poems comes along that is biblical in its authority and iconoclastic in its capacity to rearrange or explode the furniture, the nation, and the self. American Sex Tape™ is one of those.”
—Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets

& everything Black, I root for

Moving beyond a biting indictment of American popular culture, Jameka Williams captures the reader’s gaze and stares right back: “I’m sorry, America, but I’m rich in baby oil & paperback novels only these days. So finish paying for me with what is mint. No conditions.” In this stunning debut collection, Williams offers a deeply personal investigation into how Americans (herself included) have been duped, buying into classism, sexism, and racist beauty ideals, while sacrificing the freedom of self-love and self-determination. With whip-fast profanity and fiery humor, she charts a tender, exalting, and vibrant path to freedom from mirrors, stages, and screens.

Fiercely feminist, Black, American, and powerful, Williams speaks for a generation of obsessive social media influencers and consumers, revealing the complex ways in which we are all actors, witnesses, and victims in our public and private performances. Though we may be permanent residents of this soulless cultural landscape, this stunning collection refuses to let it define us.

I am not the same machine which came rambling
off the conveyor belt, hugging the bolts & wires
spilling from her vivisection. I’m last year’s model
with a sleeker, softer system of cool disdain for
my Internet addictions.
—Excerpt from “I Intend to Outlast”


Jameka Williams. Jameka Williams holds an MFA in poetry from Northwestern University. Her poetry has been published in Prelude Magazine, Gigantic Sequins, Muzzle Magazine, Yemassee Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, Jet Fuel Review, and Oyez Review, among others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she is a Best New Poets 2020 finalist, published annually by the University of Virginia, and is featured in New American Press’s New Poetry of the Midwest 2019. She resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Jameka Williams' Twitter: @meka_will_write




“Split between a love of watching and the fear created by it, Jameka Williams demolishes misogynist, racist logic with weaponized line breaks and wrecking-ball wit. And then does something stranger, braver: she looks into the camera. Because this is a book about taking back power, it’s also about the thin line between pleasure and collusion. ‘I love to see it,’ she admits, ‘I love to live inside that camera’s orgasm.’ Complex and messy and necessary in all the ways sex is, American Sex Tape™ is brilliant Black feminist truth.”
—Brian Teare

“Long after finishing American Sex Tape, I felt a deep desire to be under the careful eye of Jameka Williams’s prose. This is where she flourishes—in her storytelling, where there’s nothing faint about Black life, womanhood, about the unblessings and purity of performance. Where a gun is an emoji of healing, ‘She grips a gun / as easy as holding / a flat iron to her scalp,’ ‘What I’m saying is it is time to buy a gun. / & yoga in order to restore balance to my life.’ In this cunning collection, Williams captions every photo saved in our drafts, the ones we’re too shook to post, flawed but inevitable and more than good enough to save and archive and save the self again.”
—Shauna Barbosa

“A triumph of a debut. Part cultural criticism, part self-investigation, Williams defies genre convention. Her poems burst onto the page with purpose, veracity, tenacity, and the self-assuredness of a long-established literary dynamo.”
—Laura Joyce-Hubbard, TriQuarterly



Download Cover: color | b/w

Download Author Photo: color | b/w

Request Review Copy

Request Exam Copy


Table of Contents


American Sex Cento

“People are dying, Kim”
Intelligent Women
Brief Notes on the End of the World, Women
The All-American Girl
“But maybe boredom is erotic, when women do it, for men”
Plastic White Girl
I Intend to Outlast
Consider an Animal
“There’s a lot of baggage that comes with us, but it’s like Louis Vuitton baggage (you always want it)”
Black, or Apologies for the Line “Sally Hemings in Leggings”
The All-American Girl
New Black Venus
My Sister Says (“Everyone can catch this smoke”)
Original Sin
The Kardashians for a Better America
American Sex Tape
Black, or Even Now I Eat Like a Butcher’s Dog
Birth of the Nation

I’m Not the Queen of the Selfie
Woman Devours His Gaze
This World Is Not Good
Black, or I Sit on My Front Porch in the Projects, Waiting, on God
Erotic Women Do It
“Now that I’ve survived, when does living begin?”
The Future Is Female
Black, or There Is No Nation Both Under God & Above Ground
Who Will Save Kim Kardashian?
I Intend to Outlast
War & Marriage
The All-American Girl
#Free Britney, Brittany, Britnée & Brittani, Too Black, or The Natural World Doesn’t Know Me Nothing Is Promised
“I can’t dwell?!?”
The New Me
The All-American Girl
“The new american girl doll is no longer a slave”
Since I Laid My Burden Down



Of Related Interest

American Parables: Cover showing a cream background with the title text written in thick, multicolored font. The author text is written in curly font in the bottom right corner.

American Parables
Daniel Khalastchi

Perigee: Cover showing  a crater mottled celestial body taking up the entire sky, with a dark horizon towards the bottom of the page, upon which the silhouette of a person riding a horse is situated.

Diane Kerr

American Sex Tape: cover depicting a painting of a cartoon black woman with multiple irises within her eyes, and a third eye inbetween her eye brows. Her wavy-fingered hand is reaching toward the viewer. The title text is contained within a black box at the bottom of the page, the text cut out to reveal the image behind it.

Larger images

November 2022
LC: 2022013230 PS
88 pp. 6 x 9

Book icon
Paper $16.95
ISBN 9780299340841
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
Review Cart