I’ve eagerly awaited “Uses Of My Body” by Simone Savannah since it was announced that she was awarded the 2019 Barrow Street Book Prize by Jericho Brown. Brown described this illuminating collection as a “unique and necessary debut.” I could not agree more.
Savannah lays bare the constant harassment, sexism and injurious privilege of others she faces. These poems declare, “My body/ is mine.” Savannah is claiming thyself, writing in defense of her autonomy. This is, “her side written” as a Black woman, daughter, sister, student, girlfriend and lover.
Savannah writes: “I read poems to remake the self. I write/ poems to remake the self.” And in doing so, she reveals to us, through self-evaluation, the amount of truth-telling necessary to conjure the magic of self-healing. “Uses Of My Body” takes us on a deeply personal journey. It is a profoundly moving book of poetry.