Weekend Pick for April 28, 2023
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Thank you, Cindi Koudelka and Katie Russell for your suggestions of the Weekend Picks in April!
One of our students’ favorite activities is to create blackout poems in which they would take an original piece of text and “blackout” certain words or phrases to create a poem with a whole new theme or perspective on the existing theme. Crystal Simone Smith takes that to a whole new level in her book, Dark Testament. Not only does she create a poem, but she has transformed an entire book to create a set of poetry that examines the ugly truth of violence against black and brown people.
While simultaneously reading George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo and watching the outcry and outrage over George Floyd’s death as it unfolded in the media, she found a profound connection within a parent’s grief when losing a child—from Saunders’ exploration of Abraham Lincoln’s loss of his son to the sorrow of Black mothers who have lost their children to racial violence. This kinship brought about her intentional use of the blackout poetry form to examine her own fears and sense of endangerment juxtaposed with her ruminations about the number of Black children taken unjustly and being left in this “bardo” state—an idea from Tibetan Buddhism that refers to a transitional state between death and the next rebirth.
Cindi and Katie