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Black Under

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Poetry. African & African American Studies. LGBTQIA Studies. Winner of the Spring 2020 Black River Chapbook Competition. The poem from which Black Under derives its title opens with a resounding declaration: "I am black and black underneath." These words are an anthem that reverberates throughout Ashanti Anderson's debut short collection. We feel them as we navigate her po Poetry. African & African American Studies. LGBTQIA Studies. Winner of the Spring 2020 Black River Chapbook Competition. The poem from which Black Under derives its title opens with a resounding declaration: "I am black and black underneath." These words are an anthem that reverberates throughout Ashanti Anderson's debut short collection. We feel them as we navigate her poems' linguistic risks and shifts and trumpets; as we straddle scales that tip us toward trauma's still-bloody knife in one turn then into cutting wit and shrewd humor in the next. We hear them amplified through Anderson's dynamic voice; which sings of anguish and atrocities and also of discovery and beauty. Black Under layers outward perception with internal truth to offer an almost-telescopic examination of the redundancies—and incongruences—of marginalization and hypervisibility. Anderson torques the contradictions of oppression; giving her speakers the breathing room to discover their own agency. In these pages; declarations are reclamations; and joy is not an aspiration but a birthright.


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Poetry. African & African American Studies. LGBTQIA Studies. Winner of the Spring 2020 Black River Chapbook Competition. The poem from which Black Under derives its title opens with a resounding declaration: "I am black and black underneath." These words are an anthem that reverberates throughout Ashanti Anderson's debut short collection. We feel them as we navigate her po Poetry. African & African American Studies. LGBTQIA Studies. Winner of the Spring 2020 Black River Chapbook Competition. The poem from which Black Under derives its title opens with a resounding declaration: "I am black and black underneath." These words are an anthem that reverberates throughout Ashanti Anderson's debut short collection. We feel them as we navigate her poems' linguistic risks and shifts and trumpets; as we straddle scales that tip us toward trauma's still-bloody knife in one turn then into cutting wit and shrewd humor in the next. We hear them amplified through Anderson's dynamic voice; which sings of anguish and atrocities and also of discovery and beauty. Black Under layers outward perception with internal truth to offer an almost-telescopic examination of the redundancies—and incongruences—of marginalization and hypervisibility. Anderson torques the contradictions of oppression; giving her speakers the breathing room to discover their own agency. In these pages; declarations are reclamations; and joy is not an aspiration but a birthright.

31 review for Black Under

  1. 4 out of 5

    A.M. Nestler MSW

    Quick Take Ashanti Anderson’s Black Under is an eclectic collection of writings that celebrates the black, queer, disabled experience. Tell Me More I am fond of poetry, but don’t always have the opportunity to read such vital and unique pieces as those that are part of Ashanti Anderson’s Black Under. Even though this collection of poetry and writings is short, each piece provides the reader with an awakening to new experiences and history that is often glossed over or cast into the shadows. Anders Quick Take Ashanti Anderson’s Black Under is an eclectic collection of writings that celebrates the black, queer, disabled experience. Tell Me More I am fond of poetry, but don’t always have the opportunity to read such vital and unique pieces as those that are part of Ashanti Anderson’s Black Under. Even though this collection of poetry and writings is short, each piece provides the reader with an awakening to new experiences and history that is often glossed over or cast into the shadows. Anderson forces the reader to open their eyes and face everything about the black, queer, disabled experience that is rarely exposed. Black Under opened my eyes and expanded my empathy through the most unique collection of writings I have read to date, and I am sure it is a collection that I will be revisiting again and again. Anderson writes from her heart and presents the reader with all of her innermost thoughts and realizations about her existence, and those around her. At times Black Under is uncomfortable, and that is the absolute beauty of it. It forces the reader to face things that we might otherwise turn from, and I feel changed after reading Anderson’s collection of writings. If you are interested in poetry or short writings that reveal the marginalized parts of our society and history while also revealing the beauty of our differences, Black Under is sure to be a gem you will adore. I am not surprised that this work of art won the Spring 2020 Black River Chapbook Competition, and it deserves all of the praise. Pick up Black Under for a quick read that will stick with you for a long time. You are sure to be changed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    You might not be ready for this book, cause I know I wasn’t. However, it’s here and this book is not going anywhere. Ashanti Anderson has done a truly remarkable job here. In a short book of 30 pages she has blown my mind. She is a master storyteller, phenomenal linguist, and artful creator in her wordsmithing. You cannot categorize her work. She cannot be fit into a box, and will likely shoot out of a cannon if you try to manipulate and mold her work into something it’s not. This book, Black Un You might not be ready for this book, cause I know I wasn’t. However, it’s here and this book is not going anywhere. Ashanti Anderson has done a truly remarkable job here. In a short book of 30 pages she has blown my mind. She is a master storyteller, phenomenal linguist, and artful creator in her wordsmithing. You cannot categorize her work. She cannot be fit into a box, and will likely shoot out of a cannon if you try to manipulate and mold her work into something it’s not. This book, Black Under, defies what poetry is supposed to look like, what it’s supposed to read like; how it’s supposed to make you feel. Her metaphors are rapturous, and makes me want to live in her words forever. She is unflinching and unapologetic as she digs deep into our history. We are Black AF, and Black Under, and she demands everyone to know as such. Some poems that will forever be etched in my mind are: - Ode to Black Skin - Slave Ship Haibun - The Body Recalls - Answer to an Earnest Prayer Poetry is very subjective. Though these poems may not fit for many, you cannot deny the genius of Anderson’s words. Her words go within. Under your skin. Taking hold to every captive thought. This collection deserves all the attention and praise. Very well done. Thank you to the author Ashanti Anderson, and Nanda at Coriolis, and Black Lawrence Press for this amazing collection and I cannot wait to hear more from Ashanti Anderson.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dale

  4. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  5. 5 out of 5

    Megan Beauchamp

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lani

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  8. 4 out of 5

    Breadfly

  9. 5 out of 5

    Deijah

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Hogmire

  13. 5 out of 5

    Asha

  14. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

  15. 4 out of 5

    Addy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dax Romaine-Shelley

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kit

  19. 5 out of 5

    Teesh

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jay

  21. 4 out of 5

    Justine

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy Anderson

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ria Papadopoulou

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bee S

  25. 4 out of 5

    Becca

  26. 4 out of 5

    Noah A

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jelani Gaffney

  28. 4 out of 5

    Fernanda Gonzalez

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chanecka

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marzee

  31. 4 out of 5

    Bel

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