do they not wrap themselves around the wrongness there
the diseased spirit of a person defeated
does not your stomach turn into knots
does not the human in you cry out
if you were outside your own body
and observing yourself
poisoning your mouth with self-hate language
and disrespecting your soul with insecurities
do your intestines cringe?
do they wrap themselves around the wrongness there?
do you recognize the diseased spirit of a person defeated?
does your stomach turn into knots?
when you are self-hating yourself
does the human in you
It’s National Poetry Month!!
Grab your copy of I am Soul for just 99cents in ebook for the entire month of April. Want a paperback? The Nubian bookstore signing is next week! (4/12) Be sure to stop by for a signed paperback copy and save on shipping. Meet me in person and let’s take pictures and stuff!
*I was gifted a copy of this book from the author*
The Unveiling is a powerful collection of poetry from debut author and poet, Camille Frazer. Divided into several sections, the poems range from a variety of topics concerning the human condition. We learn of purpose, faith, hope, love, beauty and much more. The poems themselves are elegant and strong, forcing you to reread them for meaning and self-reflection. This is definitely not a book that you can just skim through. You will want to take your time and savor each line. Poems like Mana and Faith unveils a spiritual tone and set-apartness while poems like A Warrior’s Heart and Lionhearted are fierce. Some of my favorite pieces include: What is Love, Education, Lost, and Hidden History. Whether you are in search of your purpose in life, are in need of motivation from a spiritual perspective or are a lover of history, there’s something for everyone in this book. Check out the blurb below.
During her work as a children’s advocate, Camille A. Frazer has seen suffering and tragedy. But as she shows in this refreshingly optimistic new poetry collection, tragedy does not have to define us. Through her poems, Ms. Frazer examines the current direction of humanity and illustrates the importance of each individual life.
Ms. Frazer divides her work into distinct sections. The first urges a lesser focus on the individual and the recognition a larger whole. The second examines the fracture between the individual and society. It is at these breaking points, she posits, that violence has seeped in.
Even as Ms. Frazer examines societal ills like mass incarceration, slavery, and human trafficking, she never loses her faith in humanity. Her writing recognizes the failures of humankind but expresses the joys. She writes of tender familial love, passionate romance, and the all-encompassing support of the larger collective.
Her poems demonstrate an unshakeable faith in a better future for the world. Ms. Frazer believes that every human has a purpose, and is capable of compassion, contentment, and making meaningful connections. She hopes that her work will inspire you to find these gifts in yourself and then share them with others.
Camille is also one of our featured authors. If you missed her Introduce Yourself interview, CLICK HERE.
About Camille Frazer:
Camille Frazer currently serves as Regional Legal Counsel for the State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program. Ms. Frazer has been with the Guardian ad Litem Program for twelve years. Prior to her current position, Ms. Frazer was the Supervising Attorney in the 19th Judicial Circuit.
In 2005, she began her tenure with the Guardian ad Litem Program as a Best Interest Attorney in the 11th Judicial Circuit. While there, she also represented the Guardian ad Litem Program in the capacity of Litigation Attorney. After a one year hiatus practicing in the field of Insurance Defense, Ms. Frazer re-joined the Guardian ad Litem Program in October 2009, continuing her advocacy for the best interest of children.
Ms. Frazer earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. She obtained her law degree from New England Law, where she served as a Senior Editor for the New England Journal of International and Comparative Law.
Ms. Frazer serves as a mentor with the Florida Take Stock in Children Program, which prepares high school students for college and provides scholarships to assist with their educational needs. She is also a member of the Family Support Committee with Habitat for Humanity.
The Unveiling is her first collection of poems. The poems cover the many nuances of a relationship between people, between an individual and a community. Ms. Frazer believes that every moment has meaning, and each should be utilized to achieve its full potential.
Got a book for me? ClickHEREto order a review and promotion on this blog. Want to be interviewed too? ClickHERE. (There is just ONE more interview slot for March. If you want to be featured THIS month, email me soon.)
I believe life tends to happen in stages. There are certain bridges that we have crossed as stepping stones to get to where we are; a small portion of the bigger picture to lead us on. And even where we are today is of itself a mere foundation for where we will be tomorrow. As I think about this, I am recalled to Lucille’s quote and I am reminded of the compassion and the respect that we should have for one another because you never know what’s beyond those eyes. What they have seen, what they see, or what they have endured. And even our idea of what seems difficult or simple can play a different role in the life of someone else. I may have known homelessness but the man who lost his mother to cancer may experience a struggle that would have broken me, whereas my homelessness could have broken him. Makes me think about what each person has endured and how it has contributed to their strength. No matter how seemingly small it was something that we ourselves probably could not have faced if given the chance to do so.
About the Author:
What I noticed right away about Lucille is that she puts the sweet in “short and sweet”. Her poems are often not very long-winded, but they are short, almost speeding like, but not tasteless. Clifton is noted for saying much with few words. In a review of her work, Peggy Rosenthal commented, “The first thing that strikes us about Lucille Clifton’s poetry is what is missing: capitalization, punctuation, long and plentiful lines. We see a poetry so pared down that its spaces take on substance, become a shaping presence as much as the words themselves.”
In an American Poetry Review article about Clifton’s work, Robin Becker commented on Clifton’s lean style: “Clifton’s poetics of understatement—no capitalization, few strong stresses per line, many poems totaling fewer than twenty lines, the sharp rhetorical question—includes the essential only.”
In addition, Lucille Clifton’s work hinges largely on life, emphasizing endurance and strength with a focus particularly on the African American experience and family life. It is another reason I enjoy her poetry. In 2007, Clifton was awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in which the judges remarked,
“One always feels the looming humaneness around Lucille Clifton’s poems—it is a moral quality that some poets have and some don’t.”
In addition to the Ruth Lilly prize, Clifton was the first author to have two books of poetry chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969-1980 and Next: New Poems (1987).
An additional plus is that Lucille was not just a poet, but she was also an author of children’s books, designed to help them to understand the world and enable an understanding of black heritage specifically.
In books like “All Us Come Cross the Water “(1973), Clifton raises awareness of African-American history and heritage. Her most famous creation, though, was Everett Anderson, an African-American boy living in a big city; an eight title series that won the Coretta Scott King Award. Connecting Clifton’s work as a children’s author to her poetry, Jocelyn K. Moody in the Oxford Companion to African American Literature wrote: “Like her poetry, Clifton’s short fiction extols the human capacity for love, rejuvenation, and transcendence over weakness and malevolence even as it exposes the myth of the American dream.”
And that’s it for this weeks episode of Writers Quote Wednesday!
In “A Child is Born” a great photographic look on life inside the womb, Lennart Nilson and Lars Hamberger begin their work with love: “Love is an incredibly strong, enduring force and has been since time immemorial. The pattern is recognized in every culture in our world: two people are mutually attracted and feel the irresistible urge to unite.”
Love is a very powerful verb. It overcomes all things; it endures all things. Every culture around the world and every people can understand the language of love. If I traveled to Germany and saw a man having trouble standing up straight I will be moved to assist him, along with other bystanders who will immediately drop their current endeavors to assist this man—this is the language of love. We do not need to speak the German tongue to know that he needs help. This is the power of love. Sometimes love will cause one person to separate from another, not because they hate them, but because they love themselves too much to allow another person to continuously cross them because just as love is beautiful, love is also discipline. Even in war, the army that loves is always the army that wins because love overcomes hate. It possesses a very strong and immovable purity. If a man fights for a cause he truly loves, that cause is better able to grow because of his love for it. For this reason we should not think that discipline is not love. Sometimes love will require you to do away with those things you enjoy doing because it’s wrong or is just not healthy for you. After all, you cannot love anyone else if you do not love yourself first.
The world teaches us that anything (to which it promotes) truth or no truth, must be accepted as truth or else that rejection is void of love. Just because I don’t agree with you does not mean I don’t love you. It does not mean I won’t offer you the same love that is due everyone else. But if asked I’m going to tell you the truth, and I’m going to do it without judgment because “it is rain that grows flowers, not thunder” (Rumi). At the same time, when it get to the point where we can no longer walk together, this will not mean that I don’t love you, though that’s what the world teaches. If I cut you off it does not mean that I hate you, it’s just that I will not allow myself to be disrespected, nor will I conform to the contours of lies for the sake of peace, because I love myself too much to be willingly led astray. It is only logical, that when two people can no longer agree, the two must separate, but they can still love each other in the process. As a result, if there’s anything you need that I have, I will give it if given the chance because that’s love. I don’t have to agree with you, but I can forgive you of all your transgressions against me, and if you need the shirt off my back I will give it to you because that’s love. If you look around you however, you will see that this understanding is absent in the world. Too many people are filled with pride. They walk around holding onto grudges as if they themselves have the power to save and to condemn. Men have grown cold and the thought of his heart is only evil continually.
Have you ever wondered why children are so precious? Do you ever wonder why they speak to everyone? Why they want to hug and cling onto everyone they see? In this world we have to shield them from that, touching and speaking to everyone, because people have become so defiled with hatred. The reason however, children touch and feel is because they have a genuine love for others. It is only when we age that we lose some of that virtue and we become just as cold and hateful as the world around us. The world does not know love. The world does not teach love. The world does not love. Instead, in many ways the world has robbed us of love; like a child who loses his innocence, we have lost track of how to love. It is our life source yet it is missing from our lives. It is the umbilical cord that connects us to our creator and to the rest of mankind. It is both essential and necessary for mankind to surround itself with love. It is the air we breathe and without it we suffocate. In fact, mankind today is suffocating and have been for a long time; suffering silently because it does not have love. Man searches for it, but he is unable to find it. From the moment we emerge from our mother’s wombs we are looking for love. Many of us search for it, yearn for it, and even act out because we do not have it. We know it mostly by way of its relation to relationships. This is just one of the primary ways to which we seek to find it, in the embrace of another person; because mankind was made in the image of love, so in each other is where we often seek it.
If as a result mankind cannot love, then the very thing that makes us human has failed us because we do not know love, cannot find love, and cannot exhibit love. It is a love that is so important to have that it is required before we can ever attempt to define what it means to be human, for humanity itself requires it. That’s why some people just wake up and decide to murder an entire family. They are so imbalanced that they explode, go crazy, and become deranged; they lose track of their humanity, and all because they do not know love.
When mankind loses the ability to love or to be loved by someone else, mankind is no longer human. That’s the power of love, and it is the answer to every question.