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Juanita Harris

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Raven for Change
by Juanita Harris  Timothy Edwards, Shanya Speller 

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Publisher:  Xlibris ISBN-10:  1441508678 Type: 


Copyright:  2009 ISBN-13:  9781441508676

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Raven for Change is a compilation of poetry written by three unique artists. The trio offers varying voices to readers with poetry, prose and creative expression. This socially conscious collection covers many topics including self-revelations, depression, anger, happiness, love and optimism. The manuscript is divided into three chapters in which these Philadelphia natives disperse their individual soulful flavor.

Professional Reviews

Powerful, Compelling Poetic Collection
"We have fought for action and were showed adversity.
Said we could never do it because of our diversity.
We have witnessed darkness, but followed the light.
Spiritually lifted, we knew all would be all right.
We've soared to unbelievable heights.
Faced life head on, no time to turn back.
Some people look at us and see a need to attack,
But we are raven, raving for change."

This passage, taken from the eponymous lead-off poem of Raven For Change, best summarizes the timbre of the pieces that follow. Skillfully penned by the talented poetic trio of Juanita Harris, Timothy Edwards, and Shanya Speller, Raven is a powerful, no-holds-barred collection of verse that effectively captures a diverse cross-section of everyday life.

Individually penning the sections "Dark," "Lifted," and "Soaring," respectively, Edwards, Harris, and Speller delve deeply into such issues as racism, history, love, and the scourge of violence, drug abuse, and self-loathing that continues to plague inner-city communities. The collective voice of the collection remains strong throughout, but each poet also proves more than able to stand out on his/her own. Consider, for example, this passage from "Lost Words" by Edwards:

"Same old question,
What's the situation on those reparations?
Don't nobody in my family own forty acres.
And the mule?
Times were tough
They must have ate it."

And this passage from "Sometimes I Forget" by Harris:

"But even still,
I sometimes forget.
With plush slippers on my feet,
Sipping coffee,
I forget about the cycle of death
And poverty.
In the community
Sometimes I forget,

Or maybe
Like everyone else
I'm just blocking it out."

Sharp in tone, yet poignant in reflection, both pieces shock readers to their senses and engage their sensibilities at the same time. Such a feat is not easily accomplished, especially when it comes to poetry, which lends Edwards and Harris an added degree of credibility as truly skilled wordsmiths.

Of course, no poetry collection would be complete without the requisite reflections on love and heartbreak. Few modern poets can express such reflections as powerfully and sincerely as Harris, and in Raven she proves not to have lost a step from her previous collections, as witnessed in this passage from "Lazy Love":

"It's good to be lazy
When there is nothing else to do.
We can just lie here together
Just me and you.
We'll rest our heads on the same pillow
And waste the day away
Laying here laughing and talking
As if we have so much to say.
Not answering the door,
Not answering the phone,
Making people wonder
If something has gone wrong."

And this passage from "Maybe":

Before my love had been soiled
With dirty tricks,
Dishonesty and fabrications
I would have considered you.
Maybe before
I would have opened the door
And let you in.
But I just can't do that now.
I just don't know how."

Raven For Change is a welcome new collection of poetic verse from three promising wordsmiths on the rise. Powerful, compelling, and brutally honest, Raven beckons readers to take deeper looks within themselves and the world around them, encouraging them to embrace the anomalies that they find, rather than ignore them. A surprisingly effective tool for personal and social enlightenment that belongs on bookshelves worldwide. Highly recommended.

Wendy Paulson
Apex Reviews

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