Crime Against Nature: Poetry

Minnie Bruce Pratt, Author
Minnie Bruce Pratt, Author Firebrand Books $8.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-932379-72-6
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
The Lamont Poetry Selection for 1989, this hard-edged and provocative collection takes its title from the Alabama statute under which Pratt ( We Say We Love Each Other ) would have faced criminal prosecution as a lesbian had she fought for legal custody of her children. The book centers on the poet's painful decision to give up her two young sons (``I paid for my freedom with my children'') and her coming to terms with a choice forced on her by an unforgiving patriarchal system. Never sentimental or histrionic, Pratt's poems deal directly and explicitly with issues of anger, shame, sexuality and injustice. Thematic concerns of self-denial, separation, loss and the mother-child relationship are powerfully reinforced by recurring images of a ``splintered'' and ``divided'' self and Pratt's fragmentary narratives. By staying true to her lesbian identity, she earns the respect and love of her sons, who, although not in her custody, are not alienated from her. Here Pratt is finally able to tell her ``version'' and, ultimately, see herself not as victim but victor: ``In my version, I walk / to where I want to live.'' (Apr.)
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