\blak\ \al-fe bet\: Poems

\blak\ \al-fe bet\: Poems

by Mitchell L. H. Douglas
     
 

The 2011 Winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award
The lean, musical poems in this touching second collection depict a southern family after the death of its matriarch. Douglas transcribes the spirit and ghosts of one people's America in poems that are principled and tender.
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Overview

The 2011 Winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award
The lean, musical poems in this touching second collection depict a southern family after the death of its matriarch. Douglas transcribes the spirit and ghosts of one people's America in poems that are principled and tender.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Haunted by questions of contemporary blackness, this second book by Douglas is packed with risk and conflict, but also beauty. “Admit it,” he begins “Passing Negro Mountain,” “you read the title & thought/ Here we go again—/ another race poem, (aren’t we Post-Black?)” But he packs a lyric punch: “Does this explain the heart? How/ one finds another, families/ intertwined like crops// on farms standing root to root.” In an explanatory epilogue to this formally various collection, Douglas writes, “My plan was for the book to have a series of poems dedicated to the Alabama sharecropping days of my grandfather and his brothers…. Would I be accused of mining a subject that had been seen too often from a black poet? Did it matter? After all, this was a true history of my family.” Douglas invents and analyzes his invented form, the Fret, which features a six-lined stanza inspired by the guitar, but with only a handful in the finished book, a reader can be left wondering what all the fuss is about. Douglas imaginatively explores many facets of racial conflict—from birth certificates reprints to Bops, to free-verse lyrics; when the resulting collage gets caught up in chronicling of narrative particulars, the poems can become more muddled than satisfyingly fragmentary. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Firm yet lyrical, Cave Canem Fellow Douglas uses the death of matriarch Mamie Lee to frame the story of one Southern black family, "Selma bred/ & wilting in all its heat." Here, the personal ("Consider yourself woven & see/ what your gut says") blends seamlessly with the political ("Met America in an observation car/ long before I knew a history book") to capture the entire African American experience.—BH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780892554218
Publisher:
Persea Books
Publication date:
02/06/2013
Pages:
80
Sales rank:
988,610
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.10(d)

Meet the Author

Mitchell L. H. Douglas is a Cave Canem Fellow and author of Cooling Board. He teaches at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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