Throughout this potent, often searing volume—which offers occasional short prose pieces in addition to its crisp verse—DeVonne faces the horrors that have been visited upon Black bodies and lives, from the slave trade to mass incarceration, the poisoned water of Flint, Michigan, the names of Black men and women killed by police, to the white fear that enables police brutality. One powerful piece lays bare the subtext of many “911 Calls”: “His skin is too black. / His nose is too wide. / His frame is too large. / His stance emits pride.”
The approach is political, cultural, and personal, as DeVonne balances her historical reckoning with the everyday trials of “working while black in an office / where pay, praises, and promotions rain / on men and women with snowy skin.” Still, a rousing spirit ultimately lifts the collection, as DeVonne celebrates heroes, breakthroughs, and reminds America itself “When I rise / you rise.”
Takeaway: A searing and ultimately rousing collection of poems about the Black American experience.
Great for fans of: Asiya Wadud, ‘Gbenga Adeoba.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A