Shirleen R's Reviews > Brown: Poems

Brown by Kevin Young
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it was amazing
bookshelves: african-american-fiction, poetry, memoirs-and-biographies

Fantastic collection. Kevin Young divides the collection into sections such as school athletics, hip hop of his youth, Kansas, and young blackn young black boys in their wrestling, baseball, and other team escapades surprised and delighted me . Frankly, I forget the *beauty* of these games. That athletics and arts, sports and literature are not antithetical.

These poems are intimate and honest. Their growing young black subjects aspire to turn sports places into college scholarships. They voice anxiety over their wrestling weight and their body image. They devote themselves to their coaches and teachers, and those teachers raise them up, but as easily say racist comments that dehumanize their Black players, and demoralize them. Overall, I liked how Young's poetry reminds us that early Black sports legends Arthur Ashe (tennis), the Harlem Globetrotters (basketball), or Reggie Jackson (baseball) were as artful as they were powerful

I loved Young's love of language. The way he extracts favorite lines from hip-hop classics in the poetry section "Field Recordings", 'Ode to Dirty Bastard' or 'De La Soul is Dead'

The final section 4 pays tribute to Emmitt Till, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown. A synesthetic confluence occurs again, when Young pairs visual images with oral poetry tradition. IN titles like Triptych for Trayvon: Not Guilty (A Frieze for Sandra Bland); Limbo (A Fresco for Tamir Rice), Nightstick (A Mural for Michael Brown), Young's emblematic painting forms insist that Bland, Rice, Brown remain visible, imho.

I know Kevin Young the critical thinker and researcher. He is Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and prior to the Schomburg, Young was a Professor at Emory University. IOW, I think of Young as the panel moderator, or the talking expert who gives "blurbs" and "soundbites" when racial conflicts hit the news events. Add to Young's portfolio, he is an adept researcher. Last year he published Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News (2017). I didn't know what to expect of his poetry, but I sense poetry is his first love and perhaps his most solid writing ground.
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Reading Progress

July 13, 2018 – Started Reading
July 24, 2018 – Finished Reading
July 25, 2018 – Shelved
July 26, 2018 – Shelved as: african-american-fiction
July 26, 2018 – Shelved as: poetry
July 26, 2018 – Shelved as: memoirs-and-biographies

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