professornana (professornana) wrote,

  • Mood:

business not as usual

Marilyn Nelson is a national treasure. CARVER: A LIFE IN POEMS, A CROWN FOR EMMETT TILL, and now THE FREEDOM BUSINESS (Wordsong, 2008, October), all demonstrate her incredible talent with words. Ordinary words become extraordinary, wheeling into our eyes and ears and consciousness. Here, Nelson tells the story of Venture, a native of Africa, captured by slavers and brought to the United States. In spare poems that take many contemporary and traditionally classic forms, Nelson relates the events of Venture's life and his pursuit of freedom. On the facing pages are excerpts from his diary, his own slave narrative. The juxtaposition of the almost matter of fact description of Venture's life and Nelson's eloquent, sometimes lyrical, poems is jarring and unsettling. And perhaps that is as it should be.
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