Today I have a bonus book recommendation. I confess it’s a bit of self-promotion, since it is my book. In fact, I began Black History Month by recommending my award-winning book, Black Shadows and Through the White Looking Glass: Remembrance of Things Past and Present.
This book, The Black Feminine Mystique, is a collection of poetry, a tribute of sorts, to Black women. It’s a perfect Valentine’s gift, the poetry better than the lame words in greeting cards, even if I say so myself. Black and Brown women might even want to purchase this book for their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, granddaughters, nieces and friends, as well as themselves.
The poetry in this book is written in the form Shakespeare made famous in English, the sonnet. Shakespearean sonnets are difficult to write, in large part because English is a rhyme-poor language. I often joke how Black artists make up words in order to run with a rhyme scheme – the gift of story and song. In fact, I have written elsewhere that when Africans were forced to learn European languages, especially English, it tortured and twisted their tongues and their native tongues because Africans communicated differently than Europeans, think Click Song. With this in mind, with a near perfect understanding of the Shakespearean sonnet and its tortured and twisted linguistic syntax, I set out to write what I call, “Almost Sonnets.” Most of the structure of a sonnet is there, but I threw my pen at the Bard and wrote as a 20th century Black man in America – I began writing the poems before the New Millennium.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing.–Countee Cullen