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Political AF: A Rage Collection by Tara Campbell

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 74 pgs.
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Political AF: A Rage Collection by Tara Campbell is a slim collection with a powerful anthem and story arc that begins with “The meadow.” This prose poem sets the reader up for the themes to come — self-indulgence, dark desire and hate, outrage, and pain. That meadow is the nation that certain people have built, hiding it behind the ideals of liberty, while at the same time bleeding its people and waiting for the blood to spill.

The anthem of this collection, “Shut up and dribble,” is a chant that calls us to action. We [and I mean everyone, not just the oppressed] should not be silent like they tell us, we should rise up for the ideals and equality denied. This is personified in “Four-cent Father,” a poem in which the death of a Black man in his own garage is settled with four cents. How can a man’s life be worth so little, and how can a man who plays music in his garage be killed by bullets? He was minding his own business, he was spending time at his home — his home was not his castle, he was not safe.

There is a deep, simmering rage in this collection. A raging against injustice, a raging against the expectations of a society that’s created a false sense of justice, and a rage that builds against the circumstances created by these illusions. “Would my grandmother’s/German immigrant bones/have ached for the man/she would never have known/but for the slavers’ greed?’ (“After the Pedestal,” pg. 21) The “American Beast” rears its ugly head, slithering under the covers and slipping into rooms where “rumbling in the voices of grownups/speaking softly after dinner/about the problems of the world.//” (pg. 25) and becomes commonplace.

The poems in Political AF: A Rage Collection by Tara Campbell will get under your skin, making you uncomfortable not just in the dark but in the light of day. These poems call on us to break the silence, acknowledge the horrors of the past, see the bleak present, and get off our butts and do something about it.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Poet:

Tara Campbell is a Kimbilio Fellow, a fiction editor at Barrelhouse, and an MFA candidate at American University. Publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons, and Luna Station Quarterly.

She is the recipient of the following awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities: the 2016 Larry Neal Writers’ Award in Adult Fiction, the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding New Artist, and Arts and Humanities Fellowships for 2018 and 2019. She is also a recipient of the 2018 Robert Gover Story Prize.

Her novel TreeVolution was published in 2016, followed in 2018 by her hybrid fiction/poetry collection Circe’s Bicycle. Her third book, a short story collection called Midnight at the Organporium, will be released by Aqueduct Press in 2019.

Mailbox Monday #607

It now has it’s 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.

Leslie, 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.

Here’s what we received:

Cold Moon: On Life, Love, and Responsibility by Roger Rosenblatt

The Cold Moon occurs in late December, auguring the arrival of the winter solstice. Approaching the winter solstice of his own life, Roger Rosenblatt offers a book dedicated to the three most important lessons he has learned over his many years: an appreciation of being alive, a recognition of the gift and power of love, and the necessity of exercising responsibility toward one another. Rosenblatt’s poetic reflections on these vital life lessons offer a tonic for these perilous and fearful times, and attest to the value of our very existence. Cold Moon: a book to offer purpose, to focus the attention on life’s essentials, and to lift the spirit.

Political AF: A Rage Collection by Tara Campbell

Unlikely Books is thrilled to release Political AF: A Rage Collection by Tara Campbell. The past few years have been fertile ground for work in the field of protest writing. Political AF: A Rage Collection is a hybrid chapbook of poetry and prose. The collection focuses on topics such as race, corruption, gun violence, police brutality, Confederate monuments, reproductive freedom, and the sexual harassment and abuse of women. While the current POTUS and his league of enablers are addressed in some works the bulk of the collection is, sadly, evergreen.

Brain Candy 2

So you know that the speed of light is fast: 229,792,458 miles per second. But what does that really mean? It means that at the speed of light, you could reach the moon in 1.3 seconds. How long to travel to the sun? Just 8 minutes. And in 4.6 hours, you could reach Pluto at 4.6 billion miles away! If you like seeing far-out facts in a new light, the second book in the colorful Brain Candy series takes a deep (and delicious) dive into numbers, fun facts, and cool trivia on all kinds of topics. It’s a novel approach to feeding kids smart snackable bites about the world and is sure to be an addictive addition to the bookshelves of Weird But True! and Just Joking fans.

The Coolest Stuff on Earth: A Closer Look at the Weird, Wild, and Wonderful

Did you know that dogs can shake off a pound of water in less than a second? That some sand dunes whistle and sing? That the U.S. dollar bill is full of hidden symbols related to the number 13? Our world is filled with strange, bizarre, and weird happenings. But what do they mean? WHY are they important? And what secrets are behind them?

These secrets and MORE are revealed through cool stories, action-packed photos, fantastic infographics, and exciting Q&As with in-the-field experts. Discover the secrets of sharkskin, the mysteries behind incredible island animals, the power behind lightning, how a rare gemstone changes color, and more. Kids will be captivated by this fresh way of looking at our amazing planet.

What did you receive?