In this collection, Labertha Darensbourg McCormick has compiled 40 years of her poetry, spoken word pieces, letters, and tributes. This literary assortment of nearly 100 pieces also includes artwork and photography, quotations and work by other authors.
Enjoyable poems include “GARBAGE MAN,” which encourages everyone to “give a grand salute to the garb age [sic] men across the nation, cause [sic] if it / wasn’t [sic] for them, us folk [sic] would die of funk-a fied inhalation.” Likewise, “DUST Lust” cleverly puts desire into perspective: “From dust you are and to DUST / You / Shall / Return. / This is a fact, my man, that you need to learn. / I see that fire in your eyes when all that flesh – / Goes rolling by…/ You’re just lusting after dust.”
Despite glimpses of humor and insight, the recurrent theme of victimization overshadows the author’s other efforts. In “PEOPLE OF THE RAIN,” she writes: “All nations have pain, / But we, black people are a people of the rain.” An untitled piece notes: “If your skin is Black / A / Double price has been paid – / It is the price of Jesus Christ / And / It is, that of the slave.”
The book title appears inconsistently punctuated on the cover, spine, and title page. Likewise, compiled works (even taking their folk vernacular into consideration) contain numerous spelling, punctuation, grammar, and capitalization errors. Some poems use colorful phrases and clever juxtaposition, while others are repetitive and commonplace.
To broaden readership, McCormick will need to take the time for copyediting, deleting irrelevant material, and grouping pieces into logical sections. As it stands, her book is too much of a mixed bag and will mostly appeal to family and friends.