Opening with the poem titled “The Negro Speaks Of Langston Hughes” this 133 page self-published book is the creation of author/poet Joseph Powell. Featured in the National Geographic /PBS documentary titled “Skin” his work speaks of race, poverty, and numerous other issues that are a part of every human being regardless of race, gender, or social standing.
Inspired by James Baldwin and Langston Hughes among others, most of the poetry comes from the perspective of a person who sees himself as separate from others. This is clear early on toward the end of the second featured poem titled “Floating Up A Stream Of Consciousness Without A Paddle.” He writes on page three:
“Shall I opine, about the nature of the human condition;
Editorialize on the state of race relations
In this country – what it means
To be black in white America, to be
A stranger in a strange land, an
Alien on foreign shores, still
Trying to find his place in society, his
Niche in the vast scheme of things?''
Being an outcast is a key part of many of these poems. So too are the ideas of heartbreak in the loss of a child taken far too soon, the loss of brothers and fathers through murder, prison, etc., love in all its many forms, and many other topics. Frequently the pain of creation, especially in terms of poetry and being a poet, comes through many works. How inspiration works regarding the famous both the living and dead is another frequent topic and blends in nicely with the pain of creation.
The blues are a frequent point in this book which is fitting since so much of it revolves around the blues in some form or fashion. This not a book that will give you happy thoughts. But, it is a 133 page book of poetry that may give you both comfort and inspiration when the hours are long and the pain cuts deep.
Joby, Uninterrupted---Bittersweet Symphonies and Bohemian Rhapsodies
Material supplied directly by the author in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2010