|Treasure Redmond's chop and Tara Betts's 7 x 7|
The poetry writing and publication stars somehow aligned; thus, Treasure Redmond's and Tara Betts's chapbooks appeared at about the same time. I've followed both of their works for some time now, so I was pleased to see the release of these new books.
The books offer overlapping and different views on the possibilities for poetry. Redmond's book concentrates on the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, and demonstrates what it means for a poet to produce a kind of historical narrative in verse. Betts's book, on the other hand, is devoted to several different historical and cultural figures, including Malcolm X, Zora Neale Hurston, Tupac, Michael Jackson, and others.
Both books reveal the poets' interest in engaging history, black history through poetry. In this regard, they participate in a long-running concern among African American poets. They utilize poems to draw our attention to sometimes overlooked aspects of the past.
Several volumes of poetry published over the last decade and a half correspond to each other by employing the common form of the sonnets. Redmond's and Betts's books, however, speak to each other formally as both are comprised entirely of kwansabas. Their use of a single poetic form encourage reading the books together in concert.
• Treasure Shields Redmond's chop: 7 notations