One day will they quote me?
One day will they sing my song?
One day will they notice?
One day when I am gone…
— Michelle Antoinette Nelson (“Black Marks on White Paper”)
Michelle Antoinette Nelson, also known as LOVE the Poet, is not your everyday poet or spoken word artist. She is on a mission and will not apologize for it. When she speaks, we listen. And when she invites us into her lyrical home, we can only take her up on her offer.
Aptly titled “Black Marks on White Paper,” Nelson’s debut collection is powerful and core-shaking. Whether she tackles homophobia, religion, racism, violence, or love and loss, each one of her poems speaks in tongues of fire, scratching the window panes of our existences and bruising human hypocrisy.
Nelson’s message transcends race, gender and sexuality. She lends a voice to those who cannot speak. Like a painter, she uses her lyrical brush to draw struggling landscapes. And like a musician, her rhythms and sounds wax eloquent in the orchestra of life.
Nelson’s most poignant and beautiful pieces explore homosexuality and racism. In “Judgement,” for example, she is forced to confront those who will not accept her because of her lifestyle. However, with every painful experience comes an important realization:
But my depression is not your problem
and my happiness is not your trauma
So I exist in the throws of insomnia because my family
minus my mom and some
Can’t understand that the way I live and I love has
Nothing to do with them.
Ultimately, “Black Marks on White Paper” is about you and me. It is also about this dark side of ourselves — called fear — that we must eventually face and embrace in order to grow and make the world a better place.
and know an angel
dwells within your shell
your light force
— “Know Yourself”
I warmly recommend “Black Marks on White Paper.” It is a much-needed read.
The book is available for purchase at LoveThePoet.com.
About Michelle Antoinette Nelson
Michelle Antoinette Nelson, also known as LOVE the Poet, is a prominent American poet, author and educator. She has appeared on CNN as a speaker at the Jena 6 rally in Washington, D.C., co-produced and appeared in “Passion Fruit Tea” (a short film based on her poem with the same name), released multiple spoken word CDs, and has performed on college campuses across the United States. She is a member of the Punany Poets (as seen on HBO), the creator of Live Lyrics! Creative writing workshops, founder/host of BE FREE Fridays (monthly open mic series), and an active member of Poetry for the People Baltimore. For more information, visit her official website.
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Cendrine Marrouat is a freelance writer, reviewer, blogger and published author living in Canada. Official website: http://www.cendrinemarrouat.com