Illuminating Collection

I’ve eagerly awaited “Uses Of My Body” by Simone Savannah since it was announced that she was awarded the 2019 Barrow Street Book Prize by Jericho Brown. Brown described this illuminating collection as a “unique and necessary debut.” I could not agree more.

Savannah lays bare the constant harassment, sexism and injurious privilege of others she faces. These poems declare, “My body/ is mine.” Savannah is claiming thyself, writing in defense of her autonomy. This is, “her side written” as a Black woman, daughter, sister, student, girlfriend and lover.

Savannah writes: “I read poems to remake the self. I write/ poems to remake the self.” And in doing so, she reveals to us, through self-evaluation, the amount of truth-telling necessary to conjure the magic of self-healing. “Uses Of My Body” takes us on a deeply personal journey. It is a profoundly moving book of poetry.

Kansas Is Lit
Literary Editor | VIEW WEBSITE

Huascar is a poet, writer, and performer who lives in Topeka. He currently works as a freelance copywriter and as the Literary Editor for seveneightfive magazine publishing stories that spotlight literary and artistic events in northeast Kansas. He is the winner of ARTSConnect's 2018 Arty Award for Literary Art.

Book Breakdown

Favorite Poem: Bloom Time

Favorite Title: Personal, or how do I write about this shit in a dissertation

Favorite Stanza: My white classmates said, “poor black girl” or something similar and my professor said, “yes / race / woman / looked-at-ness” and we began marking moments at which Nola’s body is not on screen or being touched. Nola’s body is everywhere / always being touched.

Favorite Line: beautiful: being black and a woman is difficult”

First Line: Though I am a poet, I am often mistaken for a sprinter.

Last Line: how long we’ve been without mothers.

Favorite Phrase: Our wombs are not dangerous/ wounded maybe

Favorite Word: looked-at-ness

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