Chrome Valley: Poems
by Mahogany L. Browne
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Pub Date 07 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2023
W. W. Norton & Company, Liveright
From Lincoln Center’s inaugural poet-in-residence comes this unflinching collection that intricately mines the experience of being a Black woman in America.
A highly anticipated volume from critically acclaimed poet Mahogany L. Browne, Chrome Valley is at once a luminous hymn and a battle cry. Spanning the course of her own life as well as embodying centuries of virulent history, this collection pays solemn tribute to the women who came before her. Musically effervescent yet cutting poems capture the peculiar joys and pangs of Black girlhood: “you ain’t had freedom / ’til you climb on a bus 62 / & head to the closest mall / for a girl fight”; while others explore the inherent grief of motherhood, rhythmically intoning names like the tolling of a church bell: “Because Lesley McSpadden / Because Mamie Till / Because a Black mother know ain’t no song for that empty in ya belly.”
Transcendent and grounded, funny and furious, the poems within bring depth to a movement, announcing Mahogany L. Browne as one of the most important poetic voices of our time.
About the Author: Mahogany L. Browne, selected as one of the Kennedy Center's Next 50, is the executive director of JustMedia, founder of the Woke Baby Book Fair, and artistic director of Urban Word NYC. Her most recent works are Woke: A Young Poet's Guide to Justice and the young adult novel Vinyl Moon.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 7 members
In this newest collection, Browne provides exactly what those familiar with her work will expect and look forward to: fantastic poems that feature intersectional identities and experiences that are sure to stay with readers for the long haul.
Along with vulnerable moments and character/speaker insights, a standout feature of my reading experience is the sense of place that Browne develops around the Bay Area. Oakland is a unique space (and one I love), and it's exciting to see into both widespread local vibes and individual versions of this. Come for the relationships and experiences but know that this is a truly noteworthy added bonus.
I love teaching Browne's work and cannot wait to add this collection to my future courses. Obviously recommended!