Thursday, December 2, 2021

Angel C. Dye and those missing women in poetry

I wanted to extend on some of my recent thoughts on women in Angel C. Dye's poetry. I've returned a few times to a stanza from her poem "The Women in My Words." She writes, 

The women in my words wear love, mostly the wrong size. 
They invite burly and broken men to till their gardens. 
The women in my words grow round, red babies like their tomatoes 
and keep them vined at their hips just to feel somebody holding on.
These bruised women in Dye's poem stuck with me for a while. We remember the ones who are celebrated, the powerful and radiant ones too. But these women wearing "the wrong size" and the ones who do something "just to feel somebody holding on" are hard to overlook as well. They linger. 

I was thinking about this lil chapbook as one beginning for Dye and wondering if at some point -- in verse and in scholarly work -- she'll follow up and write even more about the women who appear in her poetry.

Where does she observe these women? What makes her decide to present them in her poems? Why don't I see more of them or these representations in the works of older, more well-known poets? Here, I'm wondering: do some topics fall out of favor as poets advance and become established? 

For years now, some young women in my African American literature classes have complained that the poetry covered in school, even black poetry, doesn't get as messy and harsh as the lives that black women like them actually live. I have a feeling that Dye touches on some of those women who my students are frustrated about and have questions about. Dye offers a sighting on some of those missing women in poetry.


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