Acclaim for Soul Clothes
"Soul Clothes dances naked and unabashed across the page. Jemison's poetry connects spirit to spirit, stripping away masks and guiding us to divine adornments of grace, truth, faith."
--Aundria Sheppard Morgan, author Cross My Heart and Hope to Die
"Soul Clothes is one poet's passionate expression of what it is to be human. Her poems encompass a vast expanse of emotions, from suffering and grief to love and celebration. While being real about the human experiences we all share, many of these poems also exalt the divine within us."
--Valerie Jean, author of Woman Writing a Letter
"Soul Clothes reveals a collection of compelling, compassionate, daring, devoted, honest and unafraid poems with a spiritual undertone."
--Sweta Srivastava Vikram, author of Kaleidoscope: An Asian Journey of Colors
For more information see www.ReginaJemison.com
From the Reflections of America Series at Modern History Press
|Publisher:||Loving Healing Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.09(d)|
Read an Excerpt
God Gave Me Words
cocoa and caramel and chocolate
Writin' My Blues Away
I've been busy chasin'
No time to write my blues away; chasin'
No time to write my blues away
But today I see my beauty
words that dance
My voice leaps on the page where joy was lost and sorrow was at home, but
I'm writin' my prayers
Because a door in my soul opens
because it relieves my sub-conscious feelings and conscious thoughts,
writing illuminates injustice gives language to people's pain pictures to failing dreams
because a door in my soul opens giving sustenance to my existence a name to my feelings breath to my spirit
because the ups I can hide,
I write and a door opens.
Hold on to God, a lawyer's prayer
My faith tells me that vengeance is not mine My heart tells me we cannot wallow forever
Civil rights activists told me to fight the battle
They didn't tell me
Civil rights activists told me
liberate, inspire, vindicate, evoke
They didn't tell me
Ancestors told me
God would not leave me, or forsake me
God would give me tools and resources
Ancestors didn't tell me
I'd feel powerless, lose faith, despair, and grieve
Disenchantment wasn't written in my textbooks:
I didn't hear exhaustion, disgust, betrayal in a lecture
We didn't discuss disappointment in our discussion groups
No one said: the rules would change, the legislators didn't care,
Reality wasn't in my law school welcome packet,
No one said: freedom wasn't real, lives would be lost, babies
Reality wasn't mentioned at orientation,
No one was saying: violence was routine, shelter was optional,
Answers didn't come with my state lawyer's license.
I am angry. Pray less. Cuss more. Have scars. Shout
Ancestors hold me, they told me
My mother loved and adored all that I was, I was not,
I know my history
I search for intellectual reason and professional purpose I seek emotional stability
My ego and hurt feelings tell me not to give up
go on, be comforted, know your gifts, have faith ...
I am listening.
Welcome to Amerika
to white men entering Amerika's penal system
I've always believed a white man can do anything and be anyone in this country of white privilege —
I see it in the images,
I've always known Black men
Well welcome to today,
true or false:
I am saying, the thieves/the legislators make mandatory minimum sentences,
this country's system,
Are u afraid? Are u afraid? Are u afraid?
fear: felon, criminal, conviction, violence, and maybe death
your freedom squelched, opportunities lost. Your working class money not enough to buy u options
Welcome to the Amerika Black people have always known. The one
built on the blood, free labor, breast milk, and grit of the oppressed,
I am an Amerikan lawyer of African descent, welcome to my Amerika.
Today I Said a Prayer
For my cousin Darnell E. Phifer Sunrise, March 9, 1960
Today I said a prayer and cried for you
For your suffering and limitations
Today I said a prayer and cried for you
For those who rejected you
Who failed to remember your dance,
Who could no longer lick fingers full of your tasty cooking
Today I said a prayer
For Don't Ask Don't Tell
That carved secrets in your service
Today I said a prayer and cried for us
In memory of exuberance and joy
and dancing, walking, talking, laughing, smiling,
Today I said a prayer and cried
For the world
I can't hug you.
You wear my purple turtleneck sweater made of wool
WOMEN WAITING: breast cancer, a story
My time is passing Without regret
I. Once upon a time: SILENCE
Women sat waiting
with shooting throbbing pounding pain radiating in the cavities of their breasts and minds
Once upon a time
Disfigured by silence Maimed by complacency We were quietly vanishing No one talked
Once upon a time
there was no awareness
Once upon a time
there were no reminders
Once upon a time
Women suffered in a cultural, physiological, sexual void asking why?
Women, faded away, disappeared into blinding fluorescent lights of diagnostic rooms, x-ray rooms, waiting rooms
breasts lopped off
Symbols of growth/from child to teen to woman Symbols of power/perky inviting nipples, sexy valley deep cleavage Symbols of wealth/silicone valley for the rich Symbols of burden/heavy, harnessed breasts in bondage bras
fairy tales and myths
Eyes hollow, shoulders shrugged, hesitant hugs would anyone know, if our breasts were gone?
Would anyone know the wrenching pain in the cubby hole of our armpits the inability to lift our arms or our voices?
III. Once upon a time: my story
I am the Woman waiting
for the results of my second mammogram and bilateral ultrasound at Sinai Grace in Detroit, Michigan waiting with women old enough to be my mother or grandmother they don't look like me, but
our breasts are gone
Once upon a time, not so very long ago,
prosthesis, the word doesn't even sound natural,
foreign like the scar it was supposed to cover or the facade it was supposed to create so I wouldn't remember the scars, the scars that I was afraid to touch, afraid touching would make the absence of my breasts real
scars that debilitated my self esteem ignited my anger confused me reminded me of the cold detached treatment of doctors and nurses
IV. Once upon time, today
Women speak CANCER we look it in the eye, know and dismantle facts from myth and share our knowledge, demand honesty and respect straighten our backs, lift our songs
grieve rejoice live!
Lover, I Can't Make You
when we were young the elders told us, never say "i can't"
i can't make u love me,
i can't make you care about us i can't make you do right by us
i can't make u love you, Black man, lover,
every time i want u
every time i want u to trust me
each time i want your forgiveness
no amount of talking, coercing, cajoling or pleading no amount or reasoning, rationalizing, or re-making no amount of justification, substantiation or validation
u have made up your mind
determined your course focused on your journey fixed your mentality resolved your indecision established your position u can
and so can i
and i have decided i can't
i can't change u, and u can't change me; I am
caring loving sensitive hardworking vulnerable afraid, and
u are who u are
I am a woman wanting freedom
Excerpted from "Soul Clothes"
Copyright © 2011 Regina D. Jemison.
Excerpted by permission of Loving Healing Press, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
God Gave Me Words,
Because a door in my soul opens,
Hold on to God, a lawyer's prayer,
Welcome to Amerika,
Today I Said a Prayer,
WOMEN WAITING: breast cancer, a story,
Lover, I Can't Make You,
Embezzled Love from My Deposit Box of Protection,
Kairos: past disappointment and down the street from ecstasy,
Rocks of Remembrance: ancestral spirits and timeless wisdom,
So Beautiful Just to Die,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A very small volume, as others have stated. Despite not having the same beliefs as the poet, it is still difficult not to feel her own conviction through the imagery of her language. It is a heartfelt book and the poet has a great potential to develop.
A nice surprise to have this collection of poetry sent to me. I am not the greatest appreciater of poetry so I don't want to go off all thinking that my opinion counts for something, it probably doesn't. When you are feeling negative sometimes it helps to read something soothing and with a positive nature to it. I can get that from this book. At times it feels that the poetry is probably better read aloud to you rather than something to mull over in your head but it is definitely a nice collection worth a view.
I was intrigued by the description of this book (from the back cover) as being "like a John Coltrane sax solo", so I requested and received it via the LTER programme.It is a fairly slender volume of poetry inspired by the author's Christian spirituality, although for the most part this is sufficiently in the background that it probably wouldn't be too obtrusive for someone holding quite a different world view. There were a few American cultural references in one or two of the poems that I didn't get, but on the whole it is poetry that speaks about life in general rather than only about Black American life.As with a Coltrane sax solo, there are moments of sublime beauty which stand out.
I am a great fan of poetry, and will read as much as I can get my hands on, so I was particularly excited to win a copy of 'Soul Clothes' from LibraryThing early reviewers. Sadly, however, the book was just not my cup of tea. I think poetry, more than any other genre, requires an empathetic connection between writer and reader, and I just didn't get that with this volume. The most obvious barriers, for me, were Ms Jemison's frequent references to God and spirituality, which is not the kind of poetry I go for. Added to this, the typographical gymnastics employed in many, if not most, of the typesetting was more of an irritant and a distraction than an effective tool to convey meaning, primarily through overuse. If I am honest, too, the style of the poetry seemed almost as if it was written to be performed, rather than printed in a book, and I think I might have enjoyed them more. I do not think that Regina D. Jemison is lacking in talent as a writer at all, but her writing is simply not for me.
A charming and evocative little book of poetry which is very obviously written from the heart...and soul.I particularly liked the poem "Today I Said a Prayer" written for the writer's cousin who died of Aids. Also "WOMEN WAITING": breast cancer, a story" which outlined the discomfort (both physically and mentally) felt by women affected by this disease. Regina is also a practising lawyer and "Hold on to God, a lawyer's prayer was deeply moving. Regina Jemison is a woman I would dearly love to meet. Her faith, caring and, quite often, anger at the "system" shines from the pages of this book. Poetry I will read over and over.
I got through this fairly quickly. Easy reading. I'm a fan of poetry, though generally not spiritual poetry. Regardless I found this quite enjoyable and a few of the poems were provocative. Nice book.
These 12 free-verse poems are performance pieces: be prepared to move as you recite them. Anything less means you won't experience their complete character.
This is a slim volume with a lively cover, containing free form poetry about very specific things. While I appreciate the craft of Jemison's writing, this is not my preferred reading. It's almost as if I'm reading someone's diary without permission. Revealing one's inner thoughts and feelings through writing is fine, but not everyone will care to read them.
It was a pleasure to read this collection of poetry. I was so excited that this work should be my first and hopefully not my last of the "Early Reviewers," book. I do not believe in coincidence and up until recently, poetry intimidated me. I've been reading with a mentor and had a break through earlier this year - poetry, though an audible art is also very viable read from the WRITTEN word. What I mean is that I would read a poem, give my input and look around like a shy child and ask if i were "right," in my interpretation: annoying. I'm over it and here I sit ready to review my first book of poetry solo. I also feel blessed that the poet is a woman. What was I going to read, who was I going to meet? I met an incredible human being. I read the work through without notes. That is my way and then read again, making notes, thinking about lines testing the waters. In the end I was not disappointed. I have three friends in my life and only three. These friends are women whom I can count on to pray for me, who know me and like me, love me and hate many of my decisions, and I feel the same for them. This poet left me reminding me of those three relationships and how blessed I am to have them. I like the way the poet showed me her world, her hurts and her smugness if you will when a white man faced the same sort of judgment as a black man. Do I recognize it? Yes in a way. I'm a mother, I've seen my child bullied and I've hurt and become bitter over that fact enough that when the tables were turned, I didn't shed to many tears - okay none at all. I feel I can venture toward her feeling and relate to a point. I love the way she evokes her ancestors. BEAUTIFUL. I grew up in a family that saved pieces of art work done by grandmothers. I have a piece of cross stitch dated in 1852 framed and on the back all the generations between the artist and me. Again the poet evoked in me who went before me and we seemed to part ways here. I felt that the poet was determined to fall back on her ancestors to move forward, a sort of obligation to do better. I hated her decision to come to terms with a lover who did not know how to love. The poem absolutely still haunts me. To me the work was a sort of a surrender. With all of that said I have to say and I hope I have conveyed that the works stay with me. I think about what she said, in many ways this poet is now inside my head. I don't look at things in my house or my relationships in quite the same way. Signs of a good poet. From there I must pause - in my second time around, in re reading the work - though still moved - I felt I was told, and even pushed a little. In one work, the poet talks of breast cancer and the prostheses not coming in her color. I had to stop reading, re-read it. Again I was that Mom, waiting to hear why my son was beaten again by a gang of boys in a Christian school. This poet was my daughter, my sister, my friend and the impersonal, Godless world didn't think it enough that she faced agony they had to insult her as well. Just that small mention and that line, that work won't leave me. And further still - did I ever think of such a thing. My pink skin, my white friends, if it had been my job would I have thought of a minority coming in and having to put up with what I didn't think about? It made me want to pace the floor. That moment was great poetry for me. And maybe that is where I feel a little disappointed as well. When you have a piece of work move you like that you want more. After that line I was being told, not shown. And I really hate the dictates of show don't tell - it is okay to tell but I feel, I suspect, actually I know - this poet is not don, there are more jolts coming from her. More shoulder shaking if you will. More scenes, less of her emotion and more of her, color, the vibrancy she sees, the tragedy, the lessons.It was a pleasure and I hope I see more from this poet.
I don't read poetry often so this book was very difficult for me to review as I have few reference points for comparison. So, subjectively, I feel that the poet communicates very clearly her anger, her hope, and her frustrations. I found "Lover, I can't make You" particularly evocative of the tensions in the relationships between men and women. I was unsure about the off set type setting. I think I would have found it more effective as a technique if it had been utilised with more restraint.
Soul Clothes is a quick book of poetry. I don't usually pick up a book of poetry but won this through Early Reviewers and decided to give it a shot. Some poems I liked better than others. But overall I did enjoy it.
Soul Clothes is a slim, colorful book of free-form poetry. Although I have never been a fan of free-form, some of the poetry I found deep and inspiring. Others I didn't understand and the rest I thought to be so personal it made me feel like a voyeur. Still very well-written and I am sure it will inspire many.
First off, I do have to admit that I am not big reader of poetry and have never read an entire book of poetry. This small, 35 page book seemed like a good way to start. The first poem in the book, "Writin' My Blues Away" and "WOMEN WAITING: Breast cancer, a story" were the only two poems that I liked. The layout and format of many of the poems was distracting and I didn't enjoy them all that much. This won't put me off reading any more of Regina Jemison's poetry, these just didn't happen to be my taste.
This is a very good book. i enjoyed it a lotI got this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway.
Soul Clothes is a small poetry book with some very important things to say. It is bold and bright, urgent and immediate. The author, Regina Jemison has practiced and taught law in her native Michigan. She is a devout Christian involved with the chronically ill, and in hospice situations. Regina¿s poetry reflects her beliefs both spiritually and naturally. She sees beauty and reflects it in her writing. Her poetry is warm and visual, inviting and inspiring. Soul Clothes is personal yet speaks easily to generations.
As an Australian member I was very pleased to receive my first early Reviewer/Member giveaway, as many titles are not available to me.I had visited the John Coltrane memorial Church in San Francisco in 2009 so the reference to his music in the blurb for Soul Clothes struck a chord (so to speak!) The slim volume with the very stylish and colourful cover looked very appealing and it is definitely a collection for reading aloud, not just silently to oneself. Regina Jemison is obviously a women full of heart and soul combined and while not all the poems are equally good, no one could doubt her sincerity and caring thoughts conveyed in this compilation. I enjoyed Writin' My Blues Away, Because a Door in My Soul Opens and Hold on to God, a Lawyer's Prayer, in particular. No doubt Ms Jemison will write more poetry as she continues her journey through life and the publisher is to be congratulated for giving her a wider voice.
I typically do not pick up books of poetry. However the very personal narrative found in most of Regina's 12 poems spoke to me. In particular WOMEN WAITING: breast cancer, a story was very powerful and resonated with me vis a vis my mother's experience with cancer. I also really enjoyed her tribute to her cousin in TODAY I SAID A PRAYER. It would seem he died of AIDS in the mid-1990s at the age of 36 years old.In all I was pleased to have received this book as a LT Early Reviewer. Its free-form poetry is contemporary and offers a glimpse into the life of a female Detroit Lawyer and Teacher.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I ordered this book, and then held it in my hands. So small and brightly colored. I loved the tapestry of colors and design on the cover. It proved to be the perfect entryway into the treasures this little volume held.I happen to love poetry. Poetry is something that's often visceral, visual, spiritually moving, subconsciously shaking. It needs to be read aloud in a room of your own. It must be read with sound because only that way can one really understand the true meaning of the words.Poetry is an art form that has always given utterance its highest form of communication. Miss Regina's poetry must be read aloud. Her poems speak to the "gut" of what it means to be a woman in so many ways; I don't just mean the proverbial daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, etc... I'm talking about the woman who lives inside of the lovely shell of a woman. The one who is seeking the essense of the "what" and the "who" and the mystical/spiritual that connects her to Love. Ms Jemison is an apt guide--a songstress poet who knows what she's telling us. And, she asks us to see what she's telling us and to use it in our lives, to test it for truth.I loved this little book. It's gone from my house, now, and it's in my daughter's house...Here is a rare little treasure that you may need to have.
I usually don't pick up books of poetry. The early reviewer's description piqued my interest, so I selected this title and was lucky to receive a copy for review. This thin book contains a dozen poems divided into three sections: God gave me words; Soul clothes; and Divine reflections. Diving deep into her personal experiences as a lawyer and pastoral counselor and her own African American identity, Regina Jemison, with power and compassion explores her relationships with God and others. Vibrant, refreshing and inspiring.
I love to read and I have a soft spot for poetry but, believe it or not, there is more to me than that. Another fascinating aspect of my personality is that I love quilts and quilting. So this little collection appeals to me on more than one level - the cover makes my eyes happy and the poetry inside makes my heart happy. Regina Jemison's poetry touched me on a very basic level. It is easy to see that she writes from a place of honesty and from her heart. Lovely.
I read this volume of heart-felt poetry from cover to cover when I received it. The poems range from the very personal to the profound. She speaks of her own experiences - her frustrations, her joys and her very deeply felt relationship with God. The third section of the book changes slightly in tempo and feel, and it is refreshing to see the thematic development of the poetry as the volume is completed. I'm sure that these poems will help other, as it is clear the author intended.
This book was very good! The author is a very talented poet and I enjoyed each of her poems very much. Like another person has said, I wish the book would have been longer. I was a bit disappointed when I received it because it was a flimsy, very tiny paperback.
Soul Clothes by Regina D. Jemison is a small collection of inspiring poetry. I am not the least bit religious, however even her poems with religious references speak to me. My favorite is Women Waiting: breast cancer, a story. While cancer is a negative topic, she ends this poem with grieve, rejoice, live. In other words, there are hardships in life, but we must accept them and continue living. I would recommend this collection to anyone that needs a kick in the butt to start living life and to see the small joys of every day.
In an effort to expand my reading horizons, I decided to take up the gauntlet laid down by Serena at Savvy Verse and Wit and join the Fearless Poetry Exploration Challenge. After all, all that¿s required is to read one book of poetry ¿ and review it.I¿ll tell you upfront ¿ I know nothing about what makes poetry good, and I¿ve not done my homework by reading any of Molly Peacock¿s books, as Serena suggests. I¿m just going by the old ¿I don¿t know art but I know what I like¿ premise in evaluating this book. Pity the author!Intrigued by the blurb on LibraryThing Early Reviewers which told me to ¿imagine a John Coltrane solo, with words instead of tenor sax¿, I requested (and won) Soul Clothes by Regina D. Jemison.The book is divided into three sections. The first, God Gave Me Words, deals with the frustrations of daily life and opens promisingly:I¿ve been busy chasin¿chasin¿ childrenchasin¿ moneychasin¿ menNo time to writemy blues away; chasin¿gave me the blues¿When I read those opening lines, I saw immediately the busyness of life, the seemingly endless round of activities, with no ¿me¿ time to rejuvenate, to chase away the blues.In this section, there is a lawyer¿s prayer (Jemison has her own law practice in Detroit, Michigan) as well as comment on America¿s penal system, white privilege, and being black.The second part of the book, carrying the book¿s title, considers being a woman and includes WOMEN WAITING: breast cancer, a story, and an impassioned Lover, I Can¿t Make You, that opensI can¿t make u love me,Black Man, loverand in which most women will recognize ay least one of the relationships they¿ve had with a man in their lives.The third section of Soul Clothes is Divine Reflections. Although Jemison¿s strong faith runs throughout the book and touches on nearly every topic she considers, it is in this part of the book that she addresses her beliefs more directly, including giving a description of what seems to be her view of heaven.I have seen it, my legs dangle off the edge.In the foreword to this slim volume, Stephen Marsh tells us that ¿Jemison believes her life mission is to empower and prepare people to be their divine self at all times and under any and all circumstances.¿ It would appear that his metaphoric ¿one of God¿s own trombones¿ is less metaphysical than I had assumed when I requested this book.It would not be fair if I did not acknowledge that the implied and direct language of Jemison¿s faith made me uncomfortable. Nonetheless, there are strong expressions about life here, many of which caused me to meditate on the world, its pains, and its joys.Jemison makes it clear she is interested in ¿the divine possibilities of Black people in general, and the Black church in particular.¿ I think Soul Clothes will especially appeal to women, to those interested in a Black perspective, and to those who share Jemison¿s belief system.
When "Soul Clothes" arrived in the mail, I stared down at the thin book of poetry, perplexed and wondered, 'Is that all?' I read the forward by Rev. Marsh, who said I would be touched. And my sarcastic self thought, 'Yeah right.' But Rev. Marsh was right."Because a door in my soul opens,' expresses so poetically why I write. "Women Waiting," speaks of my mother's fight with breast cancer and "Lover, I can't Make you," paints a clear picture of my relationship with my estranged daughter.Regina D. Jamison delivers a mighty punch from such a small package!