Recent Reviews for Latorial Faison
28 Days of Poetry Celebrating Black History (Book) - 8/12/2007 8:27:45 AM|
We all know the familiar names: Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes, all readily recognizable for the high profiles of their lives, as well as their contributions to the rich legacy of African-American culture. But, who can really say they know much about Charles Drew or Ossie Davis? Or just how much the Buffalo Soldiers really accomplished during their years of service?
28 Days Of Poetry is an impressive mosaic of the kaleidoscopic African-American experience. In it, Latorial Faison has breathed new life into the usual retellings of Black history that have often been reduced to quaint clichés and trite sound bites. The breadth and depth of her compositions are so comprehensive that 28 Days can - and probably should - replace most of the textbooks and other outdated materials currently serving as ersatz representations of the American Black experience.
The broad-based appeal of 28 Days will certainly endear it to individuals from all walks of life, but the focus of most of Faison's offerings is clearly on the young. She repeatedly implores the leaders of tomorrow not only to remember the struggles of their forebears that forged the freedoms they currently enjoy, but also to continue the fight to preserve those freedoms for posterity's sake. Witness the second half of the poem "B.L.A.C.K. H.I.S.T.O.R.Y.":
"Hope ran through their veins
In search of rights and freedom trains
Sons and daughters still dying a million deaths
Trying to be free of the chains
Others pressed their way across the
Racial divide of prejudice and hate
And this moving section of "Slave Questions":
"Why use the whip
And change my name,
Tell all the world
That I've been tamed?
Why teach me words
And give me things
But give me not
What freedom brings?"
Passages such as these should strike today's youth with the same conscientious impact that Alex Haley's ROOTS had on a generation of young viewers in the `70s.
Faison's opus is not just a treatise on cries in the night and cracks of the whip, though. She provides refreshing insight on the lesser known names of some our culture's greatest contributors, such as Phillis Wheatley and Charles Drew. Even the unsung inventor Benjamin Banneker gets the star treatment in "Who Was Benjamin Banneker?":
"If you visit the nation's capital
Or hold a watch in your hand
Think of Benjamin Banneker
Another great African American"
Such tributes serve as reassuring reminders of the towering giants on whose shoulders we stand.
But make no mistake: just as easily as Faison seeks to soothe, she also seeks to stir. Many of her pieces are brashly unapologetic, like this passage from "After Katrina":
A travesty it is...
When a government waits
To aid its own citizens.
And where was America's
'Great White Hope'
Securing the Middle East
From dictatorship's scope"
Or this one from "Irreconcilable Differences":
With their played out and pimped out politics
Washington is filled with a sad lot of lunatics
So I speak to and preach to my fellowmen
About the need to politically be "born again"
Polemic stances such as these, of course, won't surprise anyone familiar with Faison's other works - namely her contributions to the anti-war (Iraq) movement, "Poets Against The War." In fact, many of the pieces in 28 Days can easily serve as revolutionary fodder in their own right. Consider this passage from "A Slave's Revolt," detailing Nat Turner's insurrection of 1831:
"they bled a dark people of life running through
their veins, mocked them with husbands, wives, and
mulatto baby cries until it was, to no surprise,
a justified rebellion, a righteous revolt, a song
of silent amen's."
At its heart, 28 Days Of Poetry bravely continues the ongoing task of reminding us all that African-American history and American history are one and the same, conveyed most effectively in these lines taken from the opening poem, "Celebrate":
"Acknowledge Black history on any day.
Allow freedom to ring in the noblest way."
While she may only have intended for it to be celebrated during Black History Month, Faison's collection is a treasure that MUST be hailed every day of the year.
28 Days of Poetry Celebrating Black History (Book) - 12/27/2002 8:06:15 AM
Poet to poet, Latorial is a literal example of precise, acrobatic artistry.
The Story of Fatou or Phillis Wheatley (Poetry) - 2/9/2013 1:30:35 PM
Thank you for the visit into Black History. It is very interesting and well-written.
The Sounds of Blackness (Poetry) - 2/9/2013 11:57:02 AM
A poem very befitting Black History Month. May we never forget what slavery did to people.