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Elizabeth Alexander's Body of Life - the Nature of Love
The irrepressible aliveness and weird wisdom of the father-son series should win it a lasting place in the literature of our day. -Robyn Sarah, Globe & Mail, Toronto
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 Just reading my redroom.com friend and ally, Aberjhani, who has an article in latest African-American Art Examiner. Aberjhani is an award-winning journalist and native of Savannah, Georgia, and the author (or co-author) of eight books, including Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, a novel, a memoir, and four volumes of poetry.

 Aberjhani's article/commentary is on Presidential poet Elizabeth Alexander's Body of Life. As someone who leads workshops in autobiography, I'm drawn in particular to what Aberjhani has to say about the autobiographical element in Alexander's book and her "deep sensitivity regarding the nature of love, and penetrating explorations of what it means to be a singular individual in a world filled with multicultural distinctions."

He continues, "She is comfortably erotic in poems like “Six Yellow Stanzas” and “Float.” But in “Affirmative Action Blues (1993)” the poet reaches beyond her own pleasure principles to acknowledge the following: “…And meanwhile, black people are dying,/ beautiful black men my age, from AIDS. It was amazing/ when I learned the root of ‘venereal disease’/ was ‘Venus,’ that there was such a thing as a disease/ of love…” This sudden appearance of AIDS creates a tragic historic marker in both recorded time and in actual human bodies––while also introducing one of the book’s major themes."

And what Aberjhani has to say about black culture. He writes, "A number of the poems throughout Body of Life would seem to answer that black culture is the ability of black music to empower daily existence with hope, strength, and wisdom; and the ability of black families to sustain themselves with love and dignity in the face of both external and internal major challenges. Surviving the struggle itself is something to be celebrated, as her [Alexander's] family does in “Harlem Birthday Party” with their 96-year-old grandfather: “…I cannot think/ about this party without thinking how glad I am/ we had it, that he lived long and healthy, that two years/ later he was gone. He was born in Jamaica,/ West Indies, and he died in Harlem, New York.” 

Anyway, I'm an online subscriber to African-American Art  Examiner.

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Thank you Robert

I greatly appreciate you subscribing to my Examiner column and thank you for sharing this post with your readers.

The concept of modern citizen journalism grows more and more fascinating for me and Examiner provides an interesting outlet for exploring its possibilities. It has certainly brought my focus back to the world of contemporary events in a way that it has not been for several years, which means I'm learning a lot, and that's always a good thing.

author of The American Poet Who Went Home Again
and Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File)