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Posted November 23, 2007
M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A, about an African American spelling bee whiz-kid, is a compelling, heart-grabbing use of actual history origami-ed with the music of poetry. This collection takes the factual accounting of MacNolia Cox Montiere and orchestrates it with original imaginings and charged reveries that challenge the reader to stand and hear, to witness, the intimacies of a young bright girl on the jagged-sharp wrong-end of racial attitudes during the Depression. Van Jordan is everything a great historical fiction writer should be¿he just does it wearing the hat of a poet. Van Jordan has crafted a phenomenal work utilizing historically significant issues¿and, unfortunately, issues still front-and-center in our current times. Some will read this stunning creation and comment on How Far We've Come. Others of us will sigh with regret, mournfully acknowledging how closely¿too closely¿this story mirrors those of our nightly news, our communities, even now. Get M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A today. Kick back, maybe put on some Earl Hines, some Billie Holiday. Slip yourself in the freshly-shined shoes, the new hand-made fancy dress of MacNolia¿listen to the tip-tapping of her soles across the stage. Feel that silver-tinged hum of adrenaline? Listen to her confidence as she calls out the letters to words that (mostly) live in other people's lives. Drink in her elation, swallow her heartache. Marvel at how her disillusions with life, with the concept of fairness and equality¿mirror water-colored shades of your own, of all our own. Bear witness. She deserves that much at least. Don't we all? Van Jordan is a poet that has the power to stretch minds, to turn hearts, with his haunting portrayals. This is why I read contemporary poetry.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2011
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