A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

ive never read anything like this. Dr. Hill is brilliant and magnificent. I learned so many things about women I have never heard of. Powerful.
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“How many ways did you write women? How many ways did you right women?”

** Trigger warning for violence against women, including rape. **

“The afflicted pray for healing—just as hungry people pray for bread, but when has God ever sent bread? In my recollection of the scriptures, God has always sent a woman.”

bound

verb
simple past tense and past participle of bind.

adjective
tied; in bonds: a bound prisoner.
made fast as if by a band or bond: She is bound to her family.
secured within a cover, as a book.
under a legal or moral obligation: He is bound by the terms of the contract.
destined; sure; certain: It is bound to happen.
determined or resolved: He is bound to go.

Pathology . constipated.

Mathematics . (of a vector) having a specified initial point as well as magnitude and direction. 

held with another element, substance, or material in chemical or physical union.

(of a linguistic form) occurring only in combination with other forms, as most affixes. 

From Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland, Ida B. Wells to Eartha Kitt, Grace Jones to Assata Shakur, A BOUND WOMAN IS A DANGEROUS THING is DaMaris B. Hill’s “love letter to women who have been denied their humanity.”

In its most obvious sense, these women are bound in a very real, tangible way: those shackled by the chains of slavery, or imprisoned in jail (often, as we’ll see, for defending themselves against physical abuse and sexual assault). But to be bound can also be a positive thing, an expression of love: to be bound to one’s ancestors, connected to one’s friends and family, accountable to one’s community. Here, Hill celebrates women who have been bound in both respects, sometimes simultaneously. 

Poetry is a deeply personal and intimate form of communion, and it’s pretty hit-or-miss for me. I know what I like, even if I have no idea why I like it. And, sadly, as much as I was looking forward to A BOUND WOMAN IS A DANGEROUS THING (I mean, THAT COVER!), most of the poems just didn’t do it for me.

First, the pros: Hill introduced me to a number of bad*** women I’d never heard of before, and whom I’d love to learn more about. I love the concept of the collection, and the way it’s laid out, with photos, biographies, and poems inspired by the subjects.

But the cons: I just had a ton of trouble getting into the poems themselves. Likewise, the short biographies of the women featured often seem incomplete, and are sometimes downright confusing. The most obvious example to come to mind is Joan Little, who is listed as born in 1953 with an “unknown” date of death. Wikipedia lists her as still alive, so…that’s weird. At the very least, it requires further explanation, right? 

Poetry is hardly in my wheelhouse, though, and judging from the other reviews, I’m in the minority here, so don’t let my experiences dissuade you. Roxane Gay blurbed it, so.
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A collection of poetry with a strong, passionate voice. My only complaint is that the informational bits on the women that inspired the poems were helpful, but a bit inconsistent in their quality of content.
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A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing was absolutely heartbreaking. Hill presents us with a topic that has been swept under the rug so many times in history. Women who were persecuted heavily because of their beliefs is one thing, but women who are persecuted because of the color of their skin and their intellect, power, and determination is another. I learned so much reading this book. The poems would spark me to do research after each one. It really opened my eyes. Everyone needs to read this.
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A collection of history, of poetry, desperate to be heard amongst all the noise in today's media. Remember the women, says Hill, what's more, learn about these remarkable women.
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This is going to be a different sort of review for me. It is a different kind of book than what I usually read. 
I used to think I “had some color” in my family history line, so I have always been interested in the plight of African American women in history. I recently discovered I am completely white/caucasian- whatever term you’d choose. But I still find myself drawn to this sort of book and history. That being said, I don’t think I will ever understand the true legacy of these amazing women.
This book is so inspiring! Not just for women of color, but for all women. It is evocative and emotional. Empowering and enlightening. This book is one EVERY person should read, IMHO. 
The poetry is phenomenal! I cannot even begin to convey the author’s talent for tugging at your heartstrings and making you REALLY THINK. If you can only try to imagine life from these exceptional ladies’ perspective, you will be forever altered.
I am unable to explain the visceral response I had while reading some of this poetry and prose. I was incensed, enraged, encouraged. In short, I was deeply moved.
This is a different sort of review because I have rarely been so deeply moved by an author's work in such a way as this. 
I don’t know what else to say. 
Triumphant! I am in awe. 5/5 stars

I was given this book by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This review, or portions thereof, with be posted (when able) to Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, IG, Pinterest, FB, Litsy, Kobo, BAM, Twitter, Linkedin, and my own blog. I am unable to review on Amazon at this time because of the future release date, but I will ASAP.
Unfortunately I am unable to provide all links at this time as I am using my phone. I am Karylahn on Litsy, Karyl white on Pinterest, Karylahn White on Goodreads, and karylahn_bookstagram on IG.
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This compact but potent collection of poetry is so good that it hurts. DeMaris B. Hill spills America’s historical shame across the printed page with the articulate rage and power of the generations she writes about. My thanks go to Bloomsbury and Net Galley for the review copy. This collection becomes available to the public January 15. 2019. 

The keys to reading Hill’s poetry are in the introduction, and in additional brief introductions at the beginning of each poem. These are broken down into five sections that depict the different ways in which women of color have been bound over the centuries, and Hill points out that Black resistance didn’t start with Black Lives Matter, and it didn’t start with Dr. King and Rosa Parks either. American Black folk have been fighting for their rights for centuries, but some periods have been better publicized and more widely recognized than others. 

The introduction is not long by most standards, but I found myself impatient to read poetry, so halfway through it I skipped to the poetry; read the collection; and then I went back to reread the introduction from the beginning. After that I went back over the poems a second time, lingering over my favorites. The review copy was a rough one, and it’s hard to read poetry if the spacing is whack. Your copy is almost guaranteed to be cleaner, but you may choose to read these more than once anyway. Strong poetry will do that to you. 

Each poem is devoted to an African-American woman that has fought in one way or another, and the conclusion is written for Hill’s son. The book is billed as a collection that takes us from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland, which it does, and both of these poems are resonant and in the case of Bland, achingly sorrowful. My own favorites were those written about Eartha Kitt, who was familiar to me, and Ruby McCollum, who wasn’t. The poem about Alice Clifton made me wish I could unread it, because it is harsh and horrible, but in case it wasn’t clear from the get go: Hill isn’t writing to spare our tender feelings. She’s pissed, and she’s right to be. 

These poems contain some of the finest figurative language I have read anywhere.

Highly recommended for those that seek social justice and that love excellent poetry.
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This is an extraordinary interdisciplinary project of personal and historical significance. I especially loved the poems for Lucille Clifton, Sandra Bland, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Assata Shakur, and my favorites were the poems for the author's son, in the final section, which I found to be tender and moving. A very fine book.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for the free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing by DaMaris B Hill is a collection of poetry in honor of black women freedom fighters. Before each poem, Hill writes up a brief introduction to who the hero is and what persecution she faced. These women were unfairly imprisoned and some were even unjustly murdered. DaMaris B Hill writes about these women as they deserved to be: saying their names and honoring their lives. These poems were touching, and as a reader, I could tell they were written with love. The poems for Sandra Bland and Harriet Tubman were standouts.

5/5 stars
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