Book Review 91: CALL US WHAT WE CARRY by A. Gorman

All we know so far is we are so far

From what we know.

— A. Gorman

This couplet written by Amanda Gorman’s pen reflects her skill with word play and the way she digs deep to make meaning. These lines illuminate humanity’s journey; the journey isn’t over. We have gained in knowledge but we have much to comprehend. These lines fit neatly into her overall poetic thrust, captured in the book’s title.

We carry others with us. Ancestors and living loved ones. What we carry what we care about: principles and people.

We carry these things in a world with injustice and the hope for justice, in a world with a tainted past and pristine ideals. We carry concerns brought by the pandemic and political players, in a world ravaged by drought and warming.

@ MollyYoung said in her NY Times review of Gorman’s book, “The weak poems suffer from a reliance on dusty imagery.” Gorman doesn’t have a single weak poem. She does, however, have poems which cause the reader to slow down and work to mine it’s meaning. Some poems like “Ship’s Manifest,” “Fury & Faith,” and “What We Carry” thunder like the voice of Old Testament prophets.

Don’t be afraid to carry people and principles for which you care. You already carry these so carry them with pride and persevere.

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