Y’all, I am writing and self-publishing a book of poetry.
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At the beginning of April, I will be publishing my first book of poems and essays. Many of the writings were first published here at desforpres.wordpress.com first ( About ) but I have revised them in order to fashion a piece of literature that is authentically me and unapologetically black.
I find that I have the tendency to be clumsy when I’m writing and have so much to say, but I’m sure art imitates life. I’m a clumsy woman, so imagine a clumsy woman when she meets a black gel ink pen and a black journal. Eloquence is usually the goal with me, but It’s more difficult to achieve than I had imagined. How do you correct slips of your tongue or my faulty fingers? How do you write a book like one you’ve never seen before, if you’ve never seen ti before? What kind of ingenuity and creativity does that take?
My book titled Hope Among Other Foods is two part. Part I contains miscellaneous poems that I’ve written over the years and that I revised and updated based on my new knowledge and current prospective. I wrote many poems when I was 16 but my voice has changed since then. I’ve learned life lessons that have shaped me into a more assured and doubtless woman. In fact, 16 year-old me would not have had the courage to publish even one of her poems. 16 year-old Desiree would ask questions like :
“What if I fail?”
“What if no one buys my book?”
“People wouldn’t support me, why would I set myself up for failure?”
And to that 16-year old, sage-to-be, I would reply:
“Girl don’t you know you got a gift of gold,
glowing bold within your soul?
Don’t you know you got a knack for words?
Don’t you know that it is better to have tried
And failed to have never tried at all?”
Wow! Ain’t I glad to no longer be sixteen!
Many of my poems focus on the body partly because I struggled so much in my youth with loving and accepting my body. I was an emotional child who struggled to see herself as worthy of love because she didn’t fit into the mold of what beauty is. I have always been plus sized, but unlike then, I now know that I have always been beautiful, too. The parts of me that I call beautiful don’t have to be deemed as so, by anyone else. My rejection of the typical scope of abled bodied, thin, fair skinned women as the only kind of beauty is radical, but with the ground I’m breaking with these wide feet, I’m hoping my views won’t always be so challenging. I’m hoping black women, and fat women, and any woman who feels like they must constantly object to the articles of oddity within their bodies, can feel what I’m saying.
My target audience isn’t white and the message isn’t always address to men, but I know that anyone can ground the meaning of what I’m saying. And if you don’t “Get it” it may not be for you. After all, how self-important must you be to believe that everything has to address your experiences. My struggle may not be accessed by you but the human struggle is known to all. Above all else, anyone can feel the universal sense of love and purpose I find in all people especially the women who aren’t represented as lovable.
In writing the poems of Part I, I struggled with the means which I utilized to negotiate power as a marginalized woman, but in the poems of Part II, my black female voice is quite unapologetic, loud, and flamboyant with pride of my heritage rooted in a tradition of strength and resilience. Of course I struggle, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything in the world because who would I be without it? How would I know how strong I was, if I had never overcame obstacles. I’m battle tested, as my brother, Malik would say. I’m certified for a comeback or a bounce back.
Part I: curing the heart’s ills thru poetry
Part II: black bones of a pure heart