Empowering feminist poetry meets love and longing in the midnight hour.
Brown’s debut poetry collection tackles the familiar ground of love and loss, but with a decidedly intimate flair. Not unlike Sharon Olds, Brown concentrates her free verse on her own life and her loves, meandering from the loss of a lover, a child and her mother. Poems fall neatly into categories, beginning with some hopeful and innocent verses about new romance, then falling headfirst into romantic liaisons gone sour. These poems in particular vibrate with anger, frustration and power, as in an evocative line from “One Warm Heart to Live”: “I used to eat hearts / …And devour them and their cold blood in one sitting.” Although the tone is saddened by the inevitability of losing her lover, what stands out is a current of wishing for better choices and better treatment at the hands of her lovers. Another section encompasses heated physical encounters and romance gone right, sprinkled later with verses about unifying universal forces and religion, settling at last on celebration of individuality and strength of self. A river of longing runs throughout the collection, touching on satisfaction and sadness and reflecting on empowerment and need: “He had my heart, I had his mind, but I still wanted more— / Too afraid to tell him I needed his warm, warm heart.” The volume resonates with femininity and a strong African-American pride. Brown frequently dips into pop culture and the vernacular, giving the poems a modern, relatable, almost conversational feel. The title poem neatly captures the essence of Brown’s overall theme: “[A]nd how do you / Quench a thirst / Born in the wilderness? / By welcoming love / In all its splendor / Never fearing the end / …And vow to keep it / If it decides to stay.” This contemplative collection brings all the poems together into a theme of love and growth through love.
Vulnerable yet celebratory love poetry written in a bold, feminine voice.