I recently came across this review, from a couple of years ago, of a book of poems that I self-published a few years back. I wasn't aware of the review when it came out and so was pleasantly surprised when I was doing a search online and going through old emails and stumbled on it. Thank God, it was a positive review, though sometimes a negative review can be telling. But it juices me up when someone, other than family or close friends, sees some good in what I put out into the world. And, so I share this with you. If any of you out there in cyberland, who are reading this and are interested in getting a copy of this book, of which I have several and am more than willing to unleash from my stash, let me know, either by leaving a comment or shooting me an email. "Nuff said.
"Mofo' Risin' " by Joseph Powell
PO Box 10024, Burbank CA 91510
Review by L.B. Sedlacek
One of the dedications that begins "Mofo' Risin' "
is from Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise" -- "You may
shoot me with your words, / you may cut me with
your eyes, / you may kill me with your hatefulness, /
But still, like air, I'll rise." Powell's own dedication
reads, "Dedicated to all the mofos still tryin' to
rise!!" Having briefly studied poetry with Angelou
and remembering what a powerful force she is
(especially when speaking of her childhood
experiences that inspired many of her most memorable
works), I expected nothing less from Powell's
own poems. I was not disappointed. Each
poem stands on its on with clear crisp meaning,
i.e. anyone can read them and get it. And that's
quite an accomplishment.
His poems are powerful and relatable even
though I must admit that I've lived in the
"Bible Belt" (south) so long I had to sit and
think for a minute to realize what a "mofo"
really is! But, that's the point. I imagine
if I met Mr. Powell in person -- other than the fact
that we're both poets, we'd probably have
nothing in common; yet I and anyone else
could find something inherent in their own
lives in this particular body of work.
From "The Death of Cupid" --
"I will shed no more tears / Will not celebrate
another love song / or write another love
poem; / I will take my heart from my sleeve /
and put it back in my pocket, / where it
From "Gratis" --
"You are / the poem / I haven't / written/
yet. // Your words / have shown / me /
how free / I am / to be / me. ..."
From "Def Poet" --
If I were a slam poet / and, I'm not, by
the way, / I'd breathe similes /
into your nostrils / and give you life; /
(w) rap metaphors / around your ears /
like the garland wrapped / in Billie
Holiday's hair; / I would not lull you /
to sleep, ...."
Powell's verse is fresh and provocative
and sticks in your head. "Mofo' Risin' "
is a refreshing entry into human
observation and the mind of a poet.
Joseph Powell's work has appeared in
"Circle Magazine." He is the author
of "Blood on the Page" (2002) and
"With Unveiled Faces" (1998).