Evie Shockley, 1965-

Book - 2017

"Poetry by Evie Shockley, critiquing daily life as well as responding to race- and gender-based violence"--

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Wesleyan poetry.
Middletown, Connecticut : Wesleyan University Press [2017]
Physical Description
110 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
Main Author
Evie Shockley, 1965- (author)
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Drawing both inspiration and ire from contemporary racial inequity, police violence, and pop culture phenomena, Shockley (the new black) reveals an overwhelming, disordered fervor in this uneven new collection. Most of the poems owe their inspiration to external sources, noted in the text or in the end notes; The Odyssey, Claudia Rankine, the Occupy Movement, and Prince are a few. In this flooding manner, Shockley's writing mimics the incessant onslaught of rage-inducing incidents from which she draws force. The most potent poems channel this energy into direct contemplations or condemnations, resulting in resolute, rousing chants. Reflecting on 2015's Millions March Rally, she writes, "our speech/ of freedom spoke louder than/ blues than badges our speech of/ freedom spoke over their loudspeakers/ our freedom spoke over their barricades." Other poems pull the reader in too many directions, blurring-rather than elucidating-the larger structural connections between such issues as cyclical poverty, sexual abuse, and politically motivated torture. Similarly, the transitions between pieces often feel haphazard, making it feel more like a collection of individual poems than the largely unified suite it is presented as. But when Shockley harnesses and concentrates her revolutionary allegiances, great anthems emerge: "and the story goes on: the privileged are aggrieved,/ or their eyes are 'deceived,'/ and another family's bereaved ~ o ~ the black family be grieved." (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

In her typically uncompromising and intelligent language, award-winning poet Shockley (the new black) investigates the ongoing abuses suffered by African Americans while connecting them to sociopolitical threats worldwide ("through the holes in michael brown's body, I see: the fucking fracking chemicals bleeding into the groundwater/. the coke brothers controlling the flow"). From the numerous elegies in "a-lyrical ballad (or, how america reminds us of the value of family"), sardonically titled and embodying awful family grieving, to "what's not to liken" ("the black girl was pinned to the ground like:/ (a) an amateur wrestler in a professional fight./ (b) swimming in a private pool is a threat to national security"), Shockley rattles readers with attentive portraits of incidents that will (sadly) be recognized. Shockley travels abroad to honor W.E.B. Du Bois in Ghana, revisits the killing of Mark Duggan in 2011 London, and provides historical context as well; one poem blends excerpts from Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Yamiceh Alcindor's "Sex Trafficking in the USA" to chilling effect. But these poems aren't just reportage; ferocious wordplay and bristling language ("our rosier news is no nooses") see to that. VERDICT Important for wide-ranging collections.-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.