Reviewed by Sister Shiree Sarana
Stepping into Womanhood: A Black Woman's Poetic Journey
by Traci Brooks
After reading sistah Traci Brooks' book, "STEPPING INTO WOMANHOOD; A BLACK WOMAN'S JOURNEY, I was pleased that it wasn't cover to cover agnst or black man bashing. Agnst from time to time I can get with but the brotha bashing thang? Not!!
Sistah Traci's book took me through the gambit of emotions not just that of a black woman but as a woman, period! The approach taken here is purely on the humanistic tip. Touching anyone who's dared to love, hate, be filled with joy and sadness can definately identify with some aspect of her book. The opening piece, "There's Something About A Brotha With A Bald Head", made me chuckle. Not that it is a humorous piece but that it is sooo true. Sistah's including this one find bald brotha's sensually appealing.
"The Man For All Season's", illustrate the subtle passions of love and the rich openess to connect with "The One." The imagery and tone in this piece pulls you right in with lines like, "...His touch creates a fire in my place admidst the whispering winds of winter..." Check the mood set here by the contrasting of elements and word play. Tell me that's not a love thang! I liked the usage of metaphore in "Your Love Is Like A Jazz Cut." I found myself groovin with the flow of the piece, the way you groove to music in your head. I was taken to smoked filled rooms with the Jazz greats "Riffin" it up. Cool piece.
"I hate you!" Now how many of us have said that!?! Yet the interesting road that the reader is taken on goes from "blaming that no good brotha" to taking responsiblity for one's choices, the power of that choice asking one's self how much are you willing to sacrifice for the "wrong one"? There is a blessing in all things even in the experience of the bad. A subject that I haven't read or heard too many sistah's addressing is that of being raised fatherless. In "Fatherles Home", I found the commentary to be true, deep and unfortunately shedding light on a pitiful self-fullfilling phrophecy. Congrats sistah for sharing this aspect. The title piece, "Stepping InTo Womanhood", is an in your face, no apologies, pride and confidence that we sistah's neet to take note of and make sure we pass on and down.
If there is a down side, the poem "Damn You Lonliness", which is a rhyming piece left me wanting in light of the energy and depth of the previous works. If I may suggest, never sacrifice the message of for forced or cliched rhyme. The last line of this work left me flat.
Overall, I enjoyed this anthology, I found it to be an easy and quick read. Perfect for the multifacted woman!! This book is written in clear and simple english for the masses to understand/overstand. Nothing is more irritating than to have to constantly stop reading a poem because your fingering Webster's dictionary. Bravo sistah Traci Brooks, for allowing us to "Step into Womanhood", with you, it was a pleasant journey!
Your Sister In The Word
Sis. Shiree Sarana
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