For Her Name’s Sake by Monica Leak

Source: GBF
Paperback, 116 pgs.
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For Her Name’s Sake by Monica Leak is a cry for not just equal justice but JUSTICE for women of color. Leak embodies these women’s stories to share them with her readers and explore the injustices faced by these women who were abandoned by the systems meant to protect society as a whole. Some of these women were taken too soon, but Leak invokes their spirit to help us see — without turning away — and encourage us to rise up for those who can no longer do so for themselves.

In “Handle With Care,” Leak tells speaks to the outward pressures society places on financially-strapped families and those in need of care, not arrest in her poem for Tanisha Anderson. This mother “Amid an escort struggle, the body becomes limp/The cops applied excessive use of force/To restrain another life lost in death” (pg. 10-11) A mother having a mental health crisis in need of assistance, she’s assisted right into the grave.

From "Who'll Be a Witness?" (pg. 49)

Who'll be a witness?
A witness who can say what they saw
A witness who can tell what they heard
A witness who can describe the scene and circumstances

Leak is that witness. Each poem focuses on a life shortened or a life altered by institutional injustice, from people killed for having fake weapons to welfare checks gone wrong. Leaks poems are filled with anger, tension, and will leave readers uneasy as they should. These are lives she wants us to remember, the circumstances they found themselves in that were beyond their control, and how justice was not served by those charged with serving it.

"No Charges" (pg. 77)

It's like daily walking on pins and needles, living on 
To constantly violate the rights of people of color and
there never is a charge

#Rosann Miller

For Her Name’s Sake by Monica Leak is a poignant collection in a time when it is sorely needed, even as we wish it were unnecessary. These are women who lost their lives and their ways of life — many had families, lost loved ones, and so much promise.

RATING: Tercet

About the Poet:

Monica Leak uses the power of information to reach others through creative content. Monica’s works include contributions to six Lent devotionals, one women’s empowerment anthology and two self-published collections of social justice-themed poetry. You can learn more about Monica by following MLeakPoetry on all social media platforms (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter) and visiting monicaspeaks.org.

Mailbox Monday #651

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine, which I purchased.

In an endless winter, she carries seeds of hope

Wylodine comes from a world of paranoia and poverty—her family grows marijuana illegally, and life has always been a battle. Now she’s been left behind to tend the crop alone. Then spring doesn’t return for the second year in a row, bringing unprecedented, extreme winter.

With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherous. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wil and her small group of exiles become a target for the cult’s volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow.

Urgent and poignant, Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for where hope might take root.

Drowning in the Floating World by Meg Eden for the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Drowning in the Floating World by Meg Eden immerses us into the Japanese natural disaster known as 3/11: the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Relentless as the disaster itself, Eden seizes control of our deepest emotional centers, and, through insightful perspective, holds us in consideration of loss, helplessness, upheaval, and, perhaps most stirring, what do make of, and do with, survival. This poetry collection is also a cultural education, sure to encourage further reading and research. Drowning in the Floating World is, itself, a tsunami stone—a warning beacon to remind us to learn from disaster and, in doing so, honor all that’s lost.

For Her Name’s Sake by Monica Leak for the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Poetry? Seriously? Who reads poetry these days, right?

With so much happening in our world with political and racial unrest, economic downturn, high unemployment, and a full-blown pandemic, why read poetry?

We read poetry because it gives us a frame for the events happening in our world and times. Words paint pictures. Words create our world. This collection of poetry is designed to bring awareness to stories of marginalized, criminalized, and brutalized women of color that deserve more than a thirty-second sound bite on local or national news.

The blood and mistreatment of women of color cries from the ground. Their voices have often gone unheard, silenced in death by systems of police brutality and the “isms” that are the result of race, poverty, and gender. This collection of poetry is an effort to give a voice to those women who were unable to share the stories. Through my words, I share their stories to ensure that we honor their memory through a commitment to advocacy and change until freedom for all is realized.

As you read, I challenge you to identify ways in which they can live out the words of the prophet Micah who said, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NKJV)?

What did you receive?