Hollywood Forever

Harmony Holiday. Fence, $17.95 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-0-9864373-0-4
Holiday's courageous and imaginative third collection (Go Find Your Father / A Famous Blues) considers the narratives of black America found in its visual and celebrity culture. The poems are superimposed over historical photos, album covers, news clippings, Google searches, advertisements, racist propaganda, and tabloid images to create a literal, visual subtext. That collapsed history of images and icons works pointedly "to heal the black/diasporic imagination/ with counterhistories that destabilize the West and/ make room for a way of life that serves us here or/ lets us go elsewhere in peace." Holiday examines the limits of reliance on "martyrs" and "heroes," particularly the uncomfortable rifts between a person's public accomplishments and private lives: "Turns out all my heroes beat their wives." She rejects simple moralization that allows pure reverence or condemnation of a public figure, insisting that "we must never forget what we endeavor to forget." Often the text and image combinations are difficult to read, a visual reminder that the blank page is a fiction—the poet always writes, as one always lives, with the specters of history. Far from being abject or overwhelmed, Holiday excavates that history in search of new futures, "a land where the sun kills questions"; the formal innovation in this collection is proof of her resilience. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
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