Every Watering Word by Tanya Manning-Yarde was a pleasant surprise for me. I haven’t read a poetry book in soooooooo long (which is a sin and a shame seeing as my first published work was a book of poetry) and Every Watering Word just reminded me of how much I missed it.
Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Tanya Manning- Yarde did not disappoint when she put together this book of poems. I experienced such a variety of emotions while reading that I barely even know where to start. The style of writing varies from piece to piece but the themes of family, religion, the strength and fears of black women, black mothers, and oppressed people scream throughout the entire work. A blood-curdling kind of scream in some cases.
This book of poetry opens with a poem about genital mutilation called Culture is Torture. I immediately recognized that I wouldn’t be getting any roses are red and violets are blues in this book.
Beautifully written and terrifyingly accurate portrayals of life as a black woman flow throughout Every Watering Word.
I think Raising Cane for its Sugar should be a short story. That poem has enough room for expansion that Tanya Manning-Yarde could probably turn it into a successful short story or novel. It’s the kind of work that has the potential to end up being a movie. Filled with cultural truths that many still deal with today Raising Cane for its Sugar portrays a mother’s plight that many often turn a blind eye to.
One of the truest lines in Every Watering Word came from Ester, Growing up Red “The pretty become prey, so don’t wear make-up too soon or too much. Camouflage with plainness. Leaving girlhood to become a woman is a dangerous development.” A sad and terrifying truth echoes off the walls of that poem. We live in a world where girls are not safe. Not from strangers, or drunk uncles, teachers, coaches, or friends at a party. This poem was life transformed into art.
The North Star, for All Women Warriors was just the encouragement I needed after thinking about the injustices women face worldwide. A tribute to amazing women of color, as well as a call for us to do our best walking in their footsteps.
While the Mrs. Were at Their Bridge Club is another example of art holding a dirty mirror up for society to look in. Every Watering Word is filled with snippets forcing you to look the horrible treatment of black women right in the eye.
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Black Love And Black Men
Every Watering Word maybe filled with poems for and about black women but there is no shortage of positive men. Poems about black fathers and grandfathers grace the pages of this book describing strong men that are active in their families. We live in a world where the black family is becoming a myth so we need more works that show the strong presence of a man in his children and/or grandchildren’s life. Tanya‘s mourning for her father and grandfather are almost palpable in the poems written in their memories. The love warms right off the page.
As a black woman, I rarely relate to poems that I didn’t write myself this much. This book felt like it was written for me but I’m more than sure anyone would enjoy it. I’m excited to see what Tanya Manning-Yarde is going to give us next. If you would like to keep up with Mrs. Manning-Yarde’s work and future endeavors go follow her on Instagram @every_watering_word_author.
Read Every Watering Word and let me know what you think.