Book Review for Voyage of the Sable Venus:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume VII Issue XI


Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Voyage of the Sable Venus

Author: Robin Coste Lewis

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Date of Publication: 2015

Pages: 142

"The sun is falling and it lies in blood
The moon is weaving bandages of gold
Old black swan where oh where is my lover now . . ."
- from Black Swan by Nina Simone

Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis is an exciting lyrical poetry weave within Beat Poetry influences that explores the idea of love and loss, a magical travelogue of a black woman poet that sings sweet, answers to the firmament within the New Age Renaissance Republic of Poetry. Robin Coste Lewis (poet, teacher) is born in Compton, California, her family is originally from New Orleans. She received an MFA in poetry from New York University as well as an MTS in comparative religious literature from Harvard University. She holds honourary fellowships from the University of California, Cave Canem and the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities and is widely published. She teaches English at colleges and universities.

"She who paints pictures of desire." Within the suffering of a lover who is missing, the loss, is a brilliant magical dance of poetry that creates new synergies in beauty. An elegant "her" story, there are allusions to power constructs, the power of love, the power of what you can and can't have, the devastation of what it means to lose a lover and the suffering. The idea of will and how this too is suffering when people need to be better mentored and discerned for their love lives. How this Society is very thinly veiled, a certain surface of everyday that is secretly seething with desire fetid overt and blunted violence bubbling. This poetry sings in archetypes.

"Mother Church No. 3"

"You step down into the Flat World
Then ask me to say it, to explain

How our name can mean both ancestor
And enemy. Your body begins in four directions . . ."

This poetry is a travelogue, the day, the night, the love, the sex, the no sex, the history of being, the idea of in place, out of place and the violence of abuse that may occur outside the light and love of the Spirit. The narrative poem, Voyage of the Sable Venus, is "comprised solely and entirely of the titles, catalog entries, or exhibit descriptions of Western art objects in which a black female figure is present, dating from 38,000 BCE to the present." The poems are a representation of the disembodied black woman, an idea of sorrow, a black woman as an object, something displaced, an art installation of protest. Perhaps an allusion to abuse by a white culture that does not understand itself, the strictures of violence and the need for The Holy Spirit Way.

This poetry is considered, wise, lives in the beauty of the Spirit, paints pictures of the beautiful and the truth, triumphs in brilliance. Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis.

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Subterranean Blue Poetry

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