Day 2 of the Sealey Challenge: "Word Magic, by Abena Walker
Walker amazes with her narratives. She tells stories that feel personal whether they really are odes to (Mother, Father, Sister...) or other people that are historical.
Her words and form--most with indented lines for both clarity and emphasis, emote her personal truth and her knowledge of self worth. As a note--my copy was gifted to me and is inscribed. "For my fellow poet Mac, Peace + Love and much success in all that you do. Abeena Walker 11/16/87 (with phone number)."
I am quoting from two poems briefly and then discussing the third more in depth. "Source" on page 32 discusses mothers and heritage that humbles me....
"I have never known my grandmothers, my mother for/ only twenty-one brief years./
...if Nana Africa had not raised her withered hands,
her strong green veins..."
There is such depth of pain and knowledge.
The second poem "A Tribute to my Father Leon E. Roberts" pg. 33 deals with fatherhood--as it is portrayed in society and how it is in reality. Her father is shown as loving and stern and
It's so hard to know
yet so easy to love,
logical and moody
calm and crazy when the world
gets out of whack" pg. 34
I think the poetry stands without my input.
The final poem I want to stand on its own too. I will say that the poem is marvelous, factual, fractured, sews and heals, maybe transforms racist naming and reclaims the beauty of the name Sapphire. Written in 1975.
"Song of Sapphire, For the Black Woman (first version for Queen Mother Iyalode on her birthday)"
in the truest sense of that jewel as "sapphire"
the once degrading remark and nigguhfied name
turns out to be the quintessence of gems" pg. 43
I do not know where to get the edition. I looked for any link. She is well-known on Google. She is amazing and her book sadly resonates today. I hope to find more of her books in my collection. (I was gifted 800 poetry volumes last Fall.)