cover image a little bump in the earth

a little bump in the earth

Tyree Daye. Copper Canyon, $22 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-55659-688-9

The abundant third collection from Daye (Cardinal) lyrically charts the history of a Black community residing on a hilltop town in North Carolina. “Do-si-do,” an early entry, begins with a child whose thunderous dancing quickly develops into a community-wide song about the kinship between past and present expressed through the land itself: “the storm’s rhythm was caught/ & cornered inside us/ older than the hill’s first field of cucumbers.” In a poem about two sisters whose mother “ate clay & lived/ to be one hundred and three,” Daye perceptively records how ancestral practices rooted in the land have changed over time. Though such acts “scared/ the Bible songs out most of us,” one sister continues to eat clay to maintain a connection to her mother and the land. Daye finds unique ways to share in the making of a community record by collaging historical documents and photographs in several poems, observing in one prose passage, “When we say we remember, that memory is happening. We are there.” These graceful and intelligent poems honor those who have come before through the vital work of remembering. (Apr.)