cover image Light for the World to See

Light for the World to See

Kwame Alexander. Houghton Mifflin, $14.99 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-358-53941-4

In his essay “A Report from Occupied Territory,” James Baldwin writes: “People are destroyed very easily. Where is the civilization and where, indeed, is the morality which can afford to destroy so many?” In his taut, lyrical book, Alexander (Booked) writes from that “occupied territory,” a world in which “we can’t see our home/ we can’t breathe our air.” Alexander explores and brings to life a world where so much exists in the negative: “we can’t be ourselves/ we can’t be at home/ we can’t be alone,” never shying away from the use of a collective “we” in his report of racial experience in America. There is sorrow here, as well as critique that develops toward hope. Channeling Gwendolyn Brooks, Alexander writes: “This is for the unbelievable./ The We Real Cool ones.” Throughout, he enters and calls upon a chorus of voices from past and present, pushing toward a future of liberation and equality. This serves as an apt and timely reminder of the ongoing inequities in America, as well as of the power of collective hope. (Nov.)