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Book of the Month

Call Us What We Carry

Amanda Gordon’s newest collection of poetry Call Us What We Carry is a beautiful weave of voices, sometimes gritty sometimes sublime, the many voices that make up this nation. She has a remarkable ability to go backward to the past while putting herself ahead into the future, all the while making a call for action.
It is the work we all must do to heal the karmic rifts within family, community, and country. She is a student of the world– and the word– and delights in the playfulness of language, at times sounding like hip-hop at other times like a librarian. But always she aims to heal the wounds that divide us. Poetry is her “practice” as evident in this poem entitled Every Day We Are Learning:

Every Day we are learning
How to live with essence, not ease.
How to move with haste, never hate.
How to leave this pain that is beyond us
Behind us.
Just like a skill or any art,
We cannot possess hope without practicing it.
It is the most fundamental craft we demand of ourselves.

The collection weaves letters from historical figures with her own vision of the pandemic, being black in America and what it means to have hope. Her voice always rings out in assent, not padding the moment with pleasantries but rather making a pitch again and again for the real.

To be accountable we must render an account:
Not what was said, but what was meant.
Not the fact, but what was felt.
What was known, even while unnamed.
Our greatest test will be
Our testimony.

Alchemy + Aim