Confessions of a Barefaced Woman

The poems in Allison Joseph’s latest collection are smart, shameless, and empowered confessions of the best kind. In semi-autobiographical verse highlighting in turns light-hearted and harsh realities of modern black womanhood, these poems take the reader down “A History of African-American Hair,” visit with both Grace Jones and the Venus de Milo, send Janis Joplin to cheerleading camp, bemoan a treacherous first pair of high heels, and discuss “vagina business.” Funny, but never flippant, and always forthcoming about the author’s own flaws and foibles, Confessions of a Barefaced Woman is sure to keep readers entranced, entertained, and enlightened.


WINNER – 2019 Independent Press Award in Poetry
FINALIST – 2019 NAACP Image Award in Poetry
FINALIST – 2019 Paterson Poetry Prize
FINALIST – Eric Hoffer Book Awards, DaVinci Eye and the Montaigne Medal
FINALIST – Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award


Confessions of a Barefaced Woman is the perfect title for Allison Joseph’s latest and finest book. She is a force to be reckoned with in these direct, powerful poems. We know where she stands and why, and she welcomes us on the journey through these pages with humor, humility, and grace. She is a master of poetic form and technique, which she artfully integrates into her frank, honest, confiding voice. Whether the subject is African-American hair, the purchase of a first bra, junk food, or liars, or people such as Rick James, Dorothy Parker, Grace Jones, or that Other Allison, she tackles them all here with refreshing clarity and candor. If she has any more confessions, I want to hear them.”—Jim Daniels, author of Birth Marks and Show and Tell

“Allison Joseph’s Confessions of a Barefaced Woman is memoirist poetry, a journey of complicated girlhood to nuanced womanhood. The speaker grows from being a ‘Pesky Little Sister’ to a woman who is in a ‘marriage / saved by frozen foods’; from a child learning penmanship to a woman writing poems. Confessions is full of laughter, generosity, intellect, and deep questions about the trap of female beauty, particularly African-American beauty. Allison Joseph knows there is strength in vulnerability—her barefaced poems glow with ‘no second skin for [her] to wipe away.’”
—Denise Duhamel, author of Blowout

A black background and a colorful graphic design of a woman with an afro and glasses, with script that reads Confessions of a Barefaced Woman poetry by Allison Joseph.

Allison Joseph ( Author Website )

Publication Date: June 12, 2018

Genre/Imprint: Poetry, Red Hen Press

$17.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-609-6