I’ve read a lot of memoirs, but none that were done as a series of poems before. It really is a beautiful way to convey your story. My favorite was the first one, about the day she was born. Here’s some information from the back cover:
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
Woodson brings her birth together with the state of black in America and it’s done masterfully.
I’m not sure how many people can do memoir in this fashion, but this does a better job of explanation some things about the Civil Rights era than almost everything I had to memorize in school. It gives the feeling in the South of black child and that is something we often miss in the narrative. The snippets of her mother also relay a lot more about what was going on in that timeframe and what it was like, as opposed to the facts that we learn.