Some works are visceral; every word you read feels like peeking into the soul of the author and having a look around, eyes glued to what you see even when it makes you uncomfortable. Some Kind of Black, by Amber Moss, feels that way to me. I was graciously given an ARC of this new poetry collection out today from Nymeria Publishing, and I'm so glad I was.
Moss is an experienced writer and poet from Atlanta (so near my hometown I had to be interested). She's previously published one other poetry collection, Bucket of Thorns, which explored her position as a woman coming of age.
Some Kind of Black is Moss's exploration of herself from a cultural perspective. In this short, roughly thirty-page collection, she looks at her heritage, her relationships with her mother, romantic partners, and eventually, her own child, and puts together a narrative of reclaiming the parts of her personality that others labeled as "not enough."
Moss's writing is intensely personal. Sitting down with this collection is like sitting with a friend late at night, sharing a drink and a story as you reflect on the world. Her work shows her world - that of a Black woman making her way in America, worried for herself and her loves amid the dangers presented by a broken system.
She puts it succinctly herself:
"It makes me uneasy and I blame it on the history books who tell me that the emancipation proclamation unshackled my ancestors and pronounced they would be 'forever free' Until they learn that they are 26% other."
- From "26% Other," Some Kind of Black by Amber Moss
Moss's control of language is amazing; her words impact you exactly how she wanted them to. You can see her background in English shining through with every piece. It's clear that this woman knows what she feels and knows how to get you to feel the same.
Despite this style of poetry not being my favorite (long freeform like this only holds my interest for so long), her words kept me coming back for more. I wanted to know more about this incredibly strong, selfless woman who took back her heritage and her identity from the hands of people who would rather she stayed in one box or the other.
Poets like this will never cease to amaze me. I hope I have the chance to read many, many more.
Some Kind of Black is available now through Nymeria Publishing.