Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Review - Contains Scenes of Indigenous Nudity by Sheri L. Wright


Sheri L. Wright’s Contains Scenes of Indigenous Nudity is a book filled with dark, sensual and sometimes snarky poetry. The ”voice” of the poems is a being that has lived in the shadows for so long that anything else would seem futile. The words drip with memories untold and instances quite forgotten yet traces still linger in the recesses of the figure’s mind. Wright’s poems are bold and brash, ready to be devoured and savoured for their intensity. One such example is the poem The Ashes:

His smiles is too weak
To push up the corners of his mouth,
And we fear the weight of it
Will come crashing down around him
Like the roof did, that grief will
Strangle the air from his lungs
Like the fire he save himself from
And showed everyone that
Family does not always come first.
Now, he spreads himself like smoke
For the long, slow crawl
Through whiskey,
Prostrate through alleys
Lined with broken glass as penance.


Several of her poems, like The Ashes, made an impact with me; they read as though the shadowy figure witnessed such a tragedy and rather than inform others of the act and consequences, instead wrote it all down in their own words. No one else could describe what the figure saw; no one else could tell what it felt and thought. Another such example is Night Blooming Cerus:

When he walks
His back is stooped
As if to shy away from the sun;
A shade growing thing
Too delicate for brightness,
For the eyes of those
Who may discover soft petals
Laced with the scent of secrets
Meant for whispering to the moon
Over the heads of sleepers-
Those who would pluck them away,
Hold them too long
To scorch in the light
Looking for things best found
With eyes closed.


This is another fine example of the shadowy figure that witnesses all and never says a word. This figure is cautious, sly and more observant than the average person. They see what others refuse to see for they know that all beings are of light and dark. However, it is the dark the most overlook, leaving it for those who are blessed/cursed with such a talent. This is what Wright’s poetry/”voice” means to me; she is of both worlds and her voice is truly her own.

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