Brand new mad crush on June Jordan. How can it be that June Jordan is this great, and yet at the same time I have never heard of her before, and I might never have heard of her at all if I hadn’t been reading random poems on the Poetry Foundation website? June Jordan! She was this amazing poet and activist, and I am in love with her! I don’t really know how to review books of poetry, and I am not through with her memoir, Soldier, to review that either, and I have not yet gotten to the one book of her essays that was not checked out at the library; so I guess I will just go on gushing about her for now.
What was ugly? It seemed to mean the wrong family and no friends and other ducks refusing to play with you and making fun of however you didn’t look exactly like them.
And I had never heard about ugly before. And ugly frightened me. I was afraid and then I became positive that I might be ugly.
Why did the Ugly Duckling lose its mother?
How could a duck turn into a swan?
Why would that be a happy ending for a duck?
The Ugly Duckling was depicted as a black baby duck.
The swan was white.
How did the black baby duck turn white?
Why was that a happy ending?
I thought I understood that story,
and I didn’t believe it,
and I kept reading it to myself,
over and over.
Here are some poems by June Jordan that I like a lot at the Poetry Foundation website. And I read loads more in my two books of her poetry, and I really want to read more of her poems but they are checked out. And I want to read all her essays. I love her. I totally love her. She was all about confronting social injustice. I love her. Here are some bits of poems I copied into my commonplace book last night.
From “Lebanon Lebanon”:
I have to ask
when you need him
The miracle of water into wine’s
but what about
a miracle of blood
delivering a river
we can drink
From “Message to Belfast”:
I am afraid to fall
but I am proud
to stand before the morning
awake with no one near
and with my conscience clear
I am completely where
I ought to be
In the city
I have lost and found myself
I am excited to finish her memoir and read her essays and y’all, seriously, she writes beautifully. I cannot recommend her work highly enough or in glowing enough terms. I have reviews to catch up on – Peter and Max, Clara Callen, The Icarus Girl – but instead of writing those, I have been falling in love with June Jordan.