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Day 18: "Ostinato Vamps" by Wanda Coleman

For a long moment, I thought I had just read this collection and that I must have already used it in the Sealey Challenge. But, I have not. This attests to the jarring and memorable lines, the off beat and musical style--words that fly.

I love language--all diction. I love how words are used colloquially, or how slang can be profound and carry meaning far more vast than "proper" or "correct" words. I love Coleman's use of astounding vocabulary and how she riffs it until, it can hide as slang. She keeps lines broken and metaphors thick.

The history of slavery and womanhood reverberates throughout the collection. "Yellowed Parchment," the second poem of Ostinato Vamps, begins "guarded like the gates of slave quarters / inscribed with the delusions of freedom" and explores and contextualizes slavery and womanhood--and of course, enslaved females and how history depicts them or erases their existence. Coleman uses musicality to soften the lines of the poem, while making sure the reader understands the emotion of what has taken place and what is taking place presently.

Each poem hits with notes of sex, sensuality, blood and womanhood, the remembrance of slavery and the racism and prejudice of today. Jazz lines and staccato verse allow for rough, deep subjects to be heard and read. Yes, there are grimaces and sighs, but I remember at first glance that the poetry is amazing and that there will be soul tears. Coleman makes the reader empathize, in ways that most poets cannot achieve. Each poem has depth, intrigue, and causes a sigh or moan or some visible expression on the face.

I call it wonder and awe--and a wish that the message would resound worldwide. Coleman is masterful and must be read.

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