Captivity

Toi Derricotte, Author University of Pittsburgh Press $0 (69p) ISBN 978-0-8229-3628-2
Derricotte ( Natural Birth ) smoothly blends personal history, invention and reportage in her focus on the black female experience as a springboard for a broader examination of subjugation. Her unusual narrative prowess distinguishes the less formal, autobiographical first sections; ``Blackbottom,'' for example, describes family trips taken in childhood to neighborhoods that represent the speaker's own narrow escape--``black middle class, / we snickered, and were proud; / the louder the streets, the prouder''--and where throaty-voiced women can be overheard saying, ``I love to see a funeral, then I know it ain't mine.'' Style and structure grow more complex as Derricotte extends her discussion to other figures--children in ghetto schools, a nun tried but acquitted of killing her newborn baby. When she leaves the political, however, her poetry dulls; for instance, she finds that books ``exhaust / you, like convicts / or madmen / too eager to talk.'' (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 88 pages - 978-0-8229-5422-4
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