POETRY

Plantains and Our Becoming: Poems

Tiny Reparations Aug. 2023. 160p. ISBN 9780593471340. pap. $17. POETRY
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Marte’s debut collection is a powerful tribute to Black Latina life in the United States, detailing all the grief and joy that encompasses. The collection includes deeply personal tributes and stories about Marte’s family while expanding to broader cultural perspectives; the second section, titled “A History of Plantains,” begins with a poem that outlines the history of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Of the Dominican Republic, the poet observers: “Many of its descendants have been displaced by a crooked history. One/ that told us we were once slaves instead of enslaved. One that told us we/ were products of strife instead of greed.” Throughout, an amazing sense of pride and confidence radiates off the pages: “Loud like opulence is her last name,” proclaims one poem; “I learned confidence from Mami./ I learned to take up space and mean it.” Odes to Toni Morrison, Cardi B, Meghan Thee Stallion and Tina Knowles, among others, enhance the theme of Black excellence.
VERDICT Deeply moving and personal while also celebrating Black Latina history and informing readers urgently needing to be educated, Marte’s book is a wonderful addition to any collection.
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