Black Girl Magic: The BreakBeat Poets, Volume 2



Black Girl Magic: The BreakBeat Poets, Volume 2

This edition

"Black Girl Magic: The BreakBeat Poets, Volume 2." Ed. Mahogany L. Brown, Idrissa Simmonds, and Jamila Woods. Foreword Patricia Smith. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2018. xxviii+233 pp.

Online access

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Table of contents

● Index of Poets
● Patricia Smith / Foreword
● Mahogany L. Browne / Introduction
● Idrissa Simmonds / Introduction
● Jamila Woods / Introduction

Collector of Me: "I shall become a collector of me / And put meat on my soul" -- Sonia Sanchez
● Justice Ameer / My Beauty
● Rio Cortez / Self Portrait in a Tanning Bed
● Maya Washington / Texture
● Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie / Homage to My Breasts (After Lucille Clifton)
● Nikki Wallschlaeger / This Body Keeps the Keys
● Elizabeth Acevedo / You Mean You Don't Weep at the Nail Salon?
● Alysia Nicole Harris / White Godiva Melts in a Mouthful of Blood: Prayer for My Unborn Daughter
● Syreeta McFadden / Ode to the Hymen
● Jamila Woods / my afropuffs
● Morgan Parker / Magical Negro #217: Diana Ross Finishing a Rib in Alabama, 1990s
● Eve L. Ewing / why you cannot touch my hair

I'm Black: "The first thing you do is to forget that I'm Black. / Second, you must never forget that I'm Black." -- Pat Parker
● Bianca Lynne Spriggs / Big Black Bitch
● Diamond Sharp / Exile
● Roya Marsh / Ode to Fetty Wap (written after strip club)
● Kemi Alabi / At H&M, When Another Black Girl Asks If I Work Here
● Eboi Hogan / Cardi B Tells Me About Myself
● Syreeta McFadden / Question and Answer. Or: Pirate Jenny Shit Talks With Her Employer
● Camonghne Felix / Meat
● Britteney Black Rose Kapri / micro

Sharpening My Oyster Knife: "I do not weep at the world--I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife." -- Zora Neale Hurston
● Idrissa Simmonds / Kingston, Jamaica. 3 am. Passa Passa Dance Party
● Lauren Whitehead / Outside My Harlem Window
● Crystal Valentine / A Brief History of Coconut Oil
● Ariana Brown / Supremacy
● Rio Cortez / The End of Eating Everything
● Xandria Phillips / Sara Baartman and I Negotiate Visibility
● Syreeta McFadden / Of Thee, Magical Negroes, I Sing
● Morgan Parker / Magical Negro #607: Gladys Knight on the 200th Episode of "The Jeffersons"
● Britteney Black Rose Kapri / for Colored boys who considered gangbanging when being Black was too much
● Eve L. Ewing / what I mean when I say I'm sharpening my oyster knife

Duty to Fight: "It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains." -- Assata Shakur
● Ariana Brown / A Brief Life
● Aja Monet / #SayHerName
● Diamond Sharp / Purgatory Room
● Venessa Marco / Patriarchy
● Destiny O. Birdsong / All The Things That Have Not Happened Between Us
● Kembi Alabi / Mr. Hotep Says #BlackLivesMatter and He'd Kill a Dyke
● Ra Malika Imhotep / rememory
● Mahogany L. Browne / If 2017 Was a Poem Title
● Morgan Parker / Magical Negro #80: Brooklyn

All the Events That Happen to You: "You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." -- Maya Angelou
● Natalie Rose Richardson / What do I tell the white boy who asks me of my heritage
● Teri Ellen Cross Davis / Piece
● Nikki Wallschlaeger / Sonnet (47)
● Hiwot Adilow / No
● Candice Iloh / alleged (erasure).
● Destiny Hemphill / shadowboxin, session one
● Simone Savannah / beautiful black queen
● Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton / Divination
● Noname / Bye Bye Baby
● Venessa Marco / offwhite
● Alexis Smithers / The Holy Theatre
● Ajanae Dawkins / Pulling Teeth and Answers Before Dying
● Idrissa Simmonds / Dawn Prayer Call
● Whitney Greenaway / Carnival Fire of '63

Wrong Is Not My Name: "I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name / My name is my own my own my own" -- June Jordan
● Jamila Woods / N
● Justice Ameer / (After God Herself)
● Elizabeth Acevedo / Cuero
● Safia Elhillo / self-portrait with the question of race
● Elizabeth Acevedo / La Negra Takes Medusa to the Hair Salon
● Yesenia Montilla / Confession #1
● Angel Nafis / Love on Flatbush Avenue
● Thiahera Nurse / Love and Water
● Simone Savannah / Look:
● Thabisile Griffin / destiny, chile
● Brittany Rogers / My daughter prays for a brother, and gets one

A New Person: "I was a new person then, / I knew things I had not known before, / I knew things that you can know only if you have been through what I had just been through." -- Jamaica Kincaid
● Aracelis Girmay / sister was the wolf
● Elizabeth Acevedo / Mami Came to this Country as a Nanny
● Aja Monet / Birth, mark
● Niki Herd / Blue Magic
● Athena Dixon / Chick
● Safia Elhillo / self-portrait with dirty hair
● Raych Jackson / A sestina for a black girl who does not know how to braid hair
● Alexa Patrick / Wading (Ode to an Almost First Kiss)
● Ciara Miller / Poet Imagines Creating Full House in Rockwell Gardens
● Athena Dixon / Boxes of Andromeda
● Toluwanimi Obiwole / Amerikkkana
● Kiandra Jimenez / Halcyon Kitchen
● Naomi Extra / Girdle
● Naomi Extra / My Favorite Things
● Lin-Z / Roseart
● Kz / I beat my sistas ass foreal this time
● JP Howard / This Poem for Sugar Hill, Harlem
● Rachelle M. Parker / Ode to Walt Whitman . . . The Housing Project

Forever Trying: "All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was." -- Toni Morrison
● Idrissa Simmonds / Flight
● Bianca Lynne Spriggs / What Women Are Made Of
● Toluwanimi Obiwole / french guiana / enigmatic womyn blues
● Safia Elhillo / old wives' tales
● Idrissa Simmonds / Vespers
● Marwa Helal / poem that wrote me into beast in order to be read
● Hiwot Adilow / Abandon
● Candace G. Wiley / Parcel Map for the County Assessor
● Destiny O. Birdsong / 400 Heat
● Fayise Abrahim / Black Produce
● Mahagony L. Browne / Built for Disaster
● Nina Angela Mercer / Root Song for Daughter

Something Has Tried to Kill Me and Has Failed: "come celebrate / with me that everyday / something has tried to kill me / and has failed." -- Lucille Clifton
● Rio Corte / What Begets What Begets
● Nabila Lovelace / For Songs and Contests
● Porsha O. / Serena
● Angel Nafis / Ghazal for Becoming Your Own Country
● E'mon Lauren / 79th be the catwalk.
● Thiahera Nurse / Some Girls Survive on Their Sorcery Alone
● Yesenia Montilla / It's a Miracle
● nonae / creation story after Safia Elhillo

Jubilee: "I want to look happily forward. I want to be optimistic. I want to have a dream. I want to live in jubilee. I want my daughters to feel that they have the power to at least try to change things, even in a world that resists change with more strength than they have." -- Edwidge Danticat
● Mahogany L. Browne / We Are All God's
● Jamila Woods / waves
● Ebony Stewart / Sway
● Ariana Brown / Invocation
● E'mon Lauren / The Etymology of "Chuuch!"
● Candace G. Wiley / The Cut Up

About the Authors

About the anthology

● Features contributions from 68 poets. The poems are organized into ten sections, each introduced with an epigraph from a black woman writer (Sonia Sanchez, Pat Parker, Zora Neale Hurston, Assata Shakur, Maya Angelou, June Jordan, Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton, and Edwidge Danticat).

Anthology editor(s)' discourse

● Patricia Smith, in the foreword, writes: "What you hold in your hands is not an anthology of verse, it is a manual of glorious sorcery. It's page upon page upon page of stanza as incantation--crafted not to make Black girls' lives less impenetrable and lyrically palatable for the curious, but to revel in the chilling power of our weaponry. This is not a guidebook for those skulking outside the circle of our bewitched coven seeking to 'understand' or 'relate.' This is not a glimpse at our vulnerabilities, since--and I understand this may come as a surprise to quite a few people--for all practical purposes, we have none."

● In her introduction, Mahogany L. Browne quotes Zora Neale Hurston as stating, "If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it." This is a much cited attribution, but I have never seen it traced to an actual source in Hurston's writings: if someone can provide a citation to the original source, it would be a signal service. (Browne's introductory essay is reprinted in "Poetry" magazine and on the Poetry Foundation website [2 April 2018] as "On Black Girl Magic.")

● The note of mutual self-reliance sounded in Patricia Smith's foreword is echoed in Idrissa Simmonds' introduction: "We work, laugh, and exist amidst a racist cultural dissonance" in which black women, simultaneously, are celebrated figures in popular culture and are victims of violence and denigration both by those close to them and those distant and alienated from them. "What do we do in the face of this dissonance? What we have always done, my loves: continue the work of healing and holding one another. Others may or may not come along: no matter. The writing collected in these pages centers the ability of Black women to trust in our own possibility."

● Jamila Woods, in her introduction, writes: "Blk girl magic, to me, is a way of seeing for blk women in a world that often renders us invisible or misrepresents us in violent ways. It is the answer to my childhood worries of not fitting into a static notion of blk girlhood. It gives me permission to be expansive, to contain multitudes, to embrace contradictions and juxtaposition within myself and among my sisters. . . . My hope is that this anthology is a tool of transformation and illumination, so that we might always see ourselves as whole and evolving."

Reviews and notices of anthology

● Simmons, Kristen. "When Words Become Witchcraft." Review of "Black Girl Magic." "South Side Weekly" 8 May 2018. Web.
● Jordan, LaToya. "At the Center of Hip-Hop and Poetry." "Poets & Writers" (May/June 2018). 11 April 2018. Web.
● Lewis, Eva. "Black Girl Magic Editor Jamila Woods and Poet Safia Elhillo on Putting a Spotlight on Black Women." "Teen Vogue" 3 May 2018. Web.

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