Life According to Motown

Patricia Smith, Author Ti Chih Ch'u Pan She $6.95 (76p) ISBN 978-0-9624287-2-2
Smith's promising first collection of poems draws from her experiences growing up--``growing tall tangled in bitter root''--on Chicago's segregated West Side during the race-torn '60s. There, the music of Motown defined cultural identity and sexuality, and, Smith says, ``I was the supreme mistress of Motown, wise in the ways of love, pretending I knew why my blue jeans had begun to burn.'' Sexual imagery suffuses many of these sense-oriented poems, and her voice rises undiminished from an unknown depth. It might rise from her heart: ``I would carefully place my left hand / in the hollow at the center of my chest / and work while it rested there''; or from somewhere inside an erotically ravished yet pleasured body--``my feet are tangled with hair, my ears are gone. / My back is curving and my lips have grown numb.'' Always in Smith's poetry is a man who symbolically inspires her onrush of words. In her best poems, such as the confessional ``The Poetry Widow,'' a male muse plays the music that accompanies her song. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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