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Boston Review calls THE BLACK MARIA a 'poeticized eulogy'

Boston Review included Aracelis Girmay's the black maria in its "Fall Poetry Reading" feature, with a thorough review by Cassandra Balzer. Calling Girmay "a poet of both physical and metaphysical loss," the review notes the collection's mission of "[synthesizing] accounts of the Eritrean diaspora in order to understand place and experience in the 21st century."

According to the review, "Girmay fastens herself to the idea of water—its power to both unify and alienate—as a vehicle for exploring loss, ancestry, and identity. The title, taken from a term for lunar 'maria'—the moon’s dark plains once thought to be seas—provides the imagistic thrust of the poems, suggesting the absorbing confusion pushing the poet toward reconciliation.

"Girmay [weaves] together intimate and communal stories to express the emotional agony of an exploited and paling culture. the black maria has an agenda, but not the one we might expect; rather than issuing a call to action for the Eritrean diaspora, the poet employs personal and ancestral experience to catalyze a unified, remembered loss. Her poetry is therefore a call for the recognition of vulnerability and subjectivity: in the poet’s own words, '& so to tenderness I add my action.' At times, the collection reads like a historical text; occasionally, it feels like angst immortalized in a diary; most often, the black maria reads like a poeticized eulogy—at once a celebration of life, an effort at reconciliation with death, and a testament to the unifying power of loss."

Click here to read the full piece from the Boston Review.

the black maria is available now at the BOA Bookstore. Order your copy before December 18 and save 25% with promo code SHOPBOA!


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