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Black Girl, Call Home

by Jasmine Mans

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There are two ways to read this collection - as individual poems collected for publication or as a whole work, split into pieces. If you go the first route, it will be an enjoyable read but you will miss a lot of the connections that flow between the pieces (and some of them will be incomprehensible). Taken as a whole, the collection sparkles.

Home is safe. Home is where the memories are. Home is where you always return. Mans weaves a collection around these simple truths, pulling from personal history and the history of the United States (from slavery to the innocents dying these days) and somehow manages to make it sound almost hopeful and positive.

It is an oddly structured collection of poems - the book is not split into sections so you read about a girl getting her hair fixed and a second later you are on a ship carrying slaves; you read about missing girls followed by a lament about the boys that never come back home alive; she even managed to include a word search puzzle which actually fits and somehow makes sense in the whole.

And at the very end of the book are two diagrams - connecting the pieces and showing their relativity to the main topic - home. You do not need them to understand the connections but they enforce one more time the structure of the book. Were they done before the assembly of the book or were they done as the book got assembled? Who knows. They can serve as a blueprint or as compilation notes.

Highly recommended. ( )
  AnnieMod | Jul 22, 2021 |
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