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This collection of poetry includes 6 cycles, including themes of socio-political commentary, relationships, spirituality, youth poetry, Haiku, and "general". The book's introduction is by Washington Post Journalist, Dorothy Gilliam who writes, "The book's depth lies in Alford's clear understanding of what it means to be rooted in Africa while grounded in experience as a Black woman in America. Alford shows a responsive and receptive heart."
The collection appeals to readers seeking to know the heart of a compassionate woman; one empowered through written (*and spoken) word. The poetry is filled with imagery and passion that comes to life as the author shares insights revealed through a life journey that was not always choosen. "To embrace change is to embrace life", says *Sistah Joy, who claims 'life victory' through an everpresent acknowledgement of the higher power within us that empowers us to achieve greatness beyond ourselves. She offers her poetry and her life lessons freely in this collection.
*The author, J. Joy Matthews Alford, presents her poetry under the name "Sistah Joy".
Life leaps by decades
When you're exposed to tragedy as a child
It marks you for eternity
Shattering self-assuredness and esteem
Growth pains come hard
In a world that constrains a spirit
Determined to react in an equally profound manner
Much weighs in the balance
Unfocused rage dictates retaliation
Until consciousness dictates creation
Of a pure heart
Of love for all human-kind
And consequently, of self
Awakening the need to improve not just one's own life
But the direction and quality of life throughout one's world...
STRONG HANDS OF MOTHER AFRICA
Strong hands of Mother Africa
Awaken places deep inside me
Where my ancestors dwell
Like distant echoes, your heart-beat
Reverberates off Kilimanjaro's mountaintops
Pulses down the Nile
Crosses the Sudan
And flows into my soul...
Reviews for "Lord I'm Dancin' As Fast As I Can"
|Reviewed by Larry Shavers
We have spent the past several weeks reading the poetic offerings of J. Joy Matthew Alford, “Lord, I’m Dancin’ As Fast As I Can” Thelemaque Publishing, 2nd. Edition 2003, an insightful, spiritually laden book of poetry, filled with insight, beauty and passion.
More widely known as “Sistah Joy,” Ms. Alford’s initial offering is divided into six (6) chapters which address three distinct and wholly separate subject matters, social consciousness, relationships and spirituality.
Of particular interest is her treatment of African American men. She confronts the plight of her Brothers in a very clear and supportive manner. The poem “No Complicity” demonstrates a surprising understanding of the trials and tribulations faced by Black men seldom written about by Black women authors. She honors Black men by treating them with respect and dignity, while clearly acknowledging their struggle. Her acknowledgement is most refreshing.
The book opens with poems of social and political consciousness. Ms. Alford poetically pays tribute to Dr. King, Malcolm X, John Brown and Nelson Mandela in a very thoughtfully provoking and powerful turn of words and phrases. Sistah Joy’s works regarding social consciousness address the personal struggles of African-Americans and is artful and very descriptive; e.g. “Change Sisters, “Conditioned to React” and “Death Row Scenario.” All possess an elegant aggression all their own that allows the reader to absorb the message in a very straight forward manner. In keeping with Sistah Joy’s unwavering need for honesty, she adds several works that may be reflective of her own personal struggles; e.g. “Victory Song” “Why Not” as well as “You, Like Me.”
The second segment of the book deals with what may be viewed as her own personal struggle with love gained, “Lower Left Side”; love lost, “Please”, “Mourning,” “All I Ever Wanted” and love never forsaken, “Consumed”, “The Scent”, “My Fine Chocolate Brother.” All powerful pieces that clearly demonstrate that through the pain and tears she still very much believes in romance, love and the quality of Black men.
The final and probably most powerful segment of the book deals with spirituality. This is the common thread throughout the book. While there are poems dedicated to family, loved ones, friends and first time experiences; e.g.“750 Horses,” the common link throughout is her firm and total trust in her Creator.
But don’t be mislead, by the serious nature of her works. Sistah Joy possesses a very refreshing and engaging wit; e.g. “I Be Dancin’, “Pork Chops and Twinkies” and “Beauty Parlor Mess” all show she enjoys expressing her healthy sense of humor.
The power of Sistah Joy’s writings may be their biggest fault. She has an uncompromising need to be brutally honest, and equally not willing to mask her emotions or feeling. But this may as well be her biggest strength, as she seems comfortable laying herself bare to her readers, not willing to compromise her words. Strength derived from her walk of faith and unconditional belief and love in her Creator. She is a strong and courageous Black woman. We look forward to reading her future works with a hope they are equally as honest and insightful.
Lawrence W. Shavers 3/30/2008
|Reviewed by Ty Gray-EL
|I sincerely believe every person who is able should read “Lord I’m Dancin’As Fast As I Can” because of its unrivaled ability to grip the soul and massage intimate places. I found myself empathizing and dancin’ with her as she masterfully choreographed each syllable. I was saddened in places and laughed out loud in others. Joy’s poetry moves and lifts and soars and I’m enlightened by her gift.
The world is enriched by your presence/presents and I thank God for creating you.
-Ty Gray-EL 9/8/07
|Reviewed by Afrika Abney
|Lord I'm Dancin' As Fast As I Can is an excellent book written by Sistah Joy. It is filled with thought provoking poetry and very vivid. The title itself is very profound, dynamic and universal. I think that Sistah Joy did a remarkable job with the overall layout and design. Thank you Sistah Joy for sharing such an unique book with us!
Five Stars Rating
Reviewed by Afrika Midnight Asha Abney
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J. Joy Matthews Alford - Sistah Joy