Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers poems by Frank X. Walker

Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers poems by Frank X. Walker

This slim volume of accessible poems packs a profusion of potent punches.  For readers interested in learning more about Evers, as well as students of American history, racism, and creative writing, these fifty poems offer a rich experience in several voices.  Educators focused on social justice will appreciate Walker’s clear intent articulated in his introduction:

I believe acknowledging and working to fully understand history can create opportunities to better understand racism.  I offer these imagined poems in hope that art can help complete the important work we continue to struggle with-- the access to economic and social justice that Medgar Evers and so many others died for, and ultimately the healing and reconciliation still needed in America.

Poems like “Ambiguity Over the Confederate Flag” (p.4) and “After Dinner in Money, Mississippi” (p. 29) may be useful to teachers introducing aspects of the craft of poetry.  “Unwritten Rules for Young Black Boys Wanting to Live in Mississippi Long Enough to Become Men” (p.  23) offers a form sure to inspire imitative drafts for the current generation of teens living in the wake of Trayvon Martin and recent events in Ferguson, MO.  Recommended for independent reading for eleventh and twelfth graders due to mature content. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Walker, Frank X.  Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers.  Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2013.

Click here  for an interview with Walker in which he discusses his use of form and craft in Turn Me Loose.  The full text is available via the Project Muse database, currently accessible through the New York Public Library.

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