The Fat Black Woman's Poems: From the winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2021 (Virago Poets)
About this deal
This is sucky (acknowledged that you should be able to drink freely), but just wanted to offer an idea. Of critical importance here is our profound impoverishment because of the vast continents of poetry that we have either dismissed too casually or never heard at all because it came to us like ultrasound – pitched at volumes so loud the English ear was unable to hear them. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. I want to challenge that old and unrelenting aesthetic that has tried (whether knowingly or not) to set limits on the volume at which good poetry can be pitched.
I want to adjust my readers’ ears, slowly, slowly, to a world of sound and beauty that they had not been capable of hearing before. We should pay attention to that word – ‘roar’ – its invocation of volume, and the clear suggestion that such volume is necessarily compromised or reduced if and when it tries to fit itself into another aesthetic culture. She is a person whose stories are only ever specific to her – a person whose stories will only ever be ‘black’ stories, or ‘woman’ stories.
Her 'fat black woman' is brash; rejoices in herself; poses awkward questions to politicians, rulers, suitors, to a white world that still turns its back. For example, Grace Nichols won the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2021 (which, I assume, prompted this reprint) and it would have been interesting to have an analysis of her work leading up to this point. In the case of this memoir, I really enjoyed many of the subjects that Bower touches upon and I love the way that it is organized since it keeps you wanting to learn more about her life. I am not certain now why I chose to read that particular bit of verse; perhaps it was an instinctive knowing that some poems have within them their own energy and need little help from their readers.
I love reading anything on body positivity because it makes me rethink what I’ve been taught about beauty and women’s bodies. Deliciously inert and self contented, the fat black woman mocks oppression by the scandal of being herself. I am wholly persuaded by Simon Gikandi’s argument that the Western culture of aesthetics was profoundly affected by the institution of slavery.
Yet, there is no single black voice: black writing can come from everywhere in the world – America, Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Britain. Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Sesali Bowen learned early on how to hustle, stay on her toes, and champion other Black women and femmes as she navigated Blackness, queerness, fatness, friendship, poverty, sex work, and self-love. By using the Web site, you confirm that you have read, understood, and agreed to be bound by the Terms and Conditions.
I should have gone straight to sleep, but instead they drove me from the airport to the reading venue. These are words that have been attached to my own work but which I suggest act as a sort of dog whistle criticism.The agency guaranteed that for us by only securing accommodations at places they have relationships with. This book talks about not just being a fat woman but being a fat, Black women with other marginalized identities as well with the backdrop of Trap music. What is so wonderful here is not only that she casts her present self as her future lover but that the self that she transforms into is none other than the Fat Black Woman, this embodiment of so many of Staceyann Chin’s poetics – the impoliteness, the brazenness, the sheer volume of it. But this much is fair, that Brathwaite has been the poet-critic much more invested in challenging the very culture of taste and aesthetics that favoured poets such as Walcott. By the time I met her again in South Africa, it was as if she had accepted that she would never publish a collection, that she was more of an activist than she was an author.