Julene's Reviews > Blood Dazzler

Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith
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Sep 04, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry
Recommended to Julene by: Wompo
Recommended for: poets; katrina affected; relief workers
Read in September, 2008

Patricia Smith enters into the voice of New Orleans in her opening prologue—And Then She Owns You—this is a haunting percursor to this series of poems about Katrina. In third person persona the city of New Orleans: "tells you leave your life. Pack your little suitcase,/flee what is rigid..."
Then she enters into the meat of the pre-storm using National Hurricane reports, an email message to Michael Brown, the whereabouts of President Bush in her epigraphs. Her book is a storm itself giving voice to Katrina itself, "I was bitch-monikered, hipped, I hefted/a whip rain, a swirling sheet of grit."
The eye of this category 5 hurricane overtakes us in this book with her relentless details. We watch with growing trepidation the dog, Luther B, tied to a tree left behind; he returns through his owner considering him, "Bet he done broke lose." Then to his personified voice, until he ascends, "smashed level with the mud,/smalled/by roaring days, and a sky/he trusted,..."
There are poems for Voodoo Spells 1 through 8, from Love and Passion to Spiritual Cleansing and Blessing.
This reinactment of Katrina unveils multitudes with raw emotion. We've heard about those who died in the nursing home, here we lie with them as the water rises.
We've seen the photos of this water logged city, now we enter through our heart, Patricia's words take us into the eye and toss us, opening our hearts wide. I hope her words will help mobilize our energies to voice a demand to stop what Naomi Klein understands as diaster economics or politics that equals ethnic cleansing.
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Edmund Davis-Quinn It's genius.


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