Staff Picks: Mallory Reads Live From the Afrikan Resistance!
I love this book because El Jones didn’t write it for me. These vibrant, powerful poems aren’t talking to me, a white settler currently residing in K’jipuktuk. By all means she invites us to listen, commands our attention, demands our minds and our action. But no, first and foremost she is talking to her people, her culture, her heritage.
She makes that much clear in the book’s introduction: “Those who see these poems as ‘angry’ do not recognize that anger is the messenger of love. These poems are driven by the powerful love for my people, for what we have suffered, for the battles we are still fighting, and for our survival, creativity and presence”.
These spoken word poems, not originally meant for the page but to be spoken aloud, hit differently yet powerfully on the printed page. Sometimes I could hear Jones’ voice calling out her lines faster than I could read them. Sometimes I was lulled into her rhythm and found myself saying them out loud to the plants in my living room. Sometimes I was grateful I could go back a re-read the knowledge and truth she drops with every rhyme.
In Live From The Afrikan Resistance!, El Jones doesn’t treat words preciously. She trusts their power and in doing so unleashes their full potential. It’s a rare book of poetry, which rather than leaving you to ponder, makes you want to stand up, get out, and chant for liberation in the streets– El Jones will already be there.