by m mick powell
Winner of Yemassee’s 2018 Poetry Chapbook Prize
Title: chronicle the body
Author: m mick powell
Urgent music and breathtaking self-reflection spill from Powell’s chronicle the body. These poems remind me of the way strength, insight, and vulnerability converge in Lucille Clifton’s lines: “born in babylon/both nonwhite and woman/what did i see to be except myself?” I’m also reminded of all the ways we must work to remember the simple miracle of our bodies, their wounds and healing, in a world that so often refuses to see the body’s – in particular: black women’s bodies’ – trials and complexities. But chronicle the body lives and sings in the midst of our American mess, crafting its own rituals and music:
powell’s poems radiate with multiple valences of meaning. The title’s subtle phrasing, how “chronicle” works interchangeably as verb and noun, urges us – challenges us – to record the stories of the body in one sense and, in another, implies that the body itself is a chronicle: one lit with wild survival, joy, pain, and unpredictable growth.
I’m most impressed by the range of voices that Powell inhabits in her series of prose poems, “Candy Girls” set in 1961, 1988, and 2011. Each is a matrix of empathy and imagination that embodies and vivifies intersections of adolescence, pop culture, and racial and sexual violence…I know, as a man, that these poems have changed me, opened me. Especially in our current moment of unmasking dangerous facades of masculinity, I’m grateful for the brilliant courage we witness here. chronicle the body is a collage of the sacred, mundane, familial, and existential; together, these images, emotions, and stories thrive as one ecstatic whole. —Aaron Coleman, author of St. Trigger and Threat Come Close
m mick powell (she/her) is a queer black Cape Verdean femme feminist poet. She is currently an MFA candidate in Poetry at Southern Connecticut State University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Apogee Journal, Winter Tangerine, The Feminist Wire, and elsewhere. She is a notorious movie-talker who also enjoys talking about Beyoncé, baked goods, bodies, and how much she loves the people she loves.