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The Fat Black Woman's Poems: From the winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2021 (Virago Poets)

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NOT SO GOOD BITS: I wish there had been a foreward or introduction, as I didn’t know much about Grace Nichols and would’ve enjoyed some context. Though she was touring America, Africa and Asia, packing schools and auditoriums, appearing on slots on the Oprah Winfrey show, the poetry community had still dismissed her.

What is even more important as we develop this business of emergent language in the Caribbean, is the actual rhythm and the syllables, the very software, in a way, of the language. A stunning collection of poems from Grace Nicholas, winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2021 Nichols gives us images that stare us straight in the eye, images of joy, challenge, accusation. I should have gone straight to sleep, but instead they drove me from the airport to the reading venue.This book talks about not just being a fat woman but being a fat, Black women with other marginalized identities as well with the backdrop of Trap music. The slight nacks, cuts, discolouring, or other imperfection are part of their character and you will hopefully love them none the less! Performance teachers are often brought in to teach poets how to read their own poems – how to let the words rise off the page, but back then I was learning the lesson in reverse.

I wouldn't mark this collection as a favourite, however I found it hard not to like the often humorous and deceptively simple poems which have a real honesty.When Fiona Sampson quotes this poem in her book ‘After the Lyric’, she redacts the two stanzas that stand out to me, the third and fourth, from ‘The fat black woman want / some bawl’ to ‘All the sleepless droning / red eyed wake nights’. I love reading anything on body positivity because it makes me rethink what I’ve been taught about beauty and women’s bodies. On short flights I can usually just wait until we land but international travel is really difficult. As the title suggests, she explores being out of place in a white, thin world, as well as taking joy in the unique beauty of being a fat black woman.

He is therefore interested in the ‘introjection of slavery into the realm of manners, civility, sense and sensibility’. Sometimes the critic in me feels that this whole business of aesthetics has been so deeply hurtful that we should do away with it completely, if only to stop those ripples that have never stopped spreading since the stone of chattel slavery was dropped into the waters of our collective humanity.The books featured on this site are aimed primarily at readers aged 13 or above and therefore you must be 13 years or over to sign up to our newsletter. A summarising worksheet containing a dozen features of this collection of poems, with a worked example and space for students to record supporting textual evidence for each feature. The Fat Black Woman lives in a world whose ‘Everyman’ – that suspicious hero who has since migrated from literature to Hollywood and so still stands today as the standard bearer of ‘the universal story’ – is almost always slim, white and male. Discover the joy of reading with us, your trusted source for affordable books that do not compromise on quality.

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