Not so long ago, I wrote a book about bad men as muses for various black writers. Recently, I was thinking about the ways that many kinds of women serve as muses as I read Angel C. Dye's chapbook Breathe (2021). Throughout the collection of poems, Dye observes, speaks to, finds inspiration in, celebrates, invokes, and documents women.
In "Reflection," she references a tattoo: "I care a colored girl's lyric into my arm," likely a reference to lines from Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf. In "On Realizing Biblical Names are Juxtaposition," she speaks, in passing, to an ordeal her mom faced: "my mother carried death inside her before."
In "The Women in My Words," she offers a catalog of various mothers, daughters, sisters. "The women in my words are secrets and spirits, whispers and wonders." In "Breathe," which I've written about previously, she offers a catalogue of even more black girls and women. In "Black is," she writes that "you've met God and she's Black."
Black girls and women are not referenced directly in all of her poems, but their presence is clear in the book in general. As subjects, they are integral to Dye's writing and thinking. For her, they are important muses.Related: