Joy blooms within the harrowing new poetry collection by Barbara Fant

Barbara Fant composed the poems that make up her new collection Mouths of Garden over a number of years. As she worked, she held a larger narrative in mind, embracing verse as a means to explore not only the trauma experienced by Black women, she said, but more importantly the healing power of Black women.

As suggested by the book’s title, this hasn’t been an easy process, requiring constant tending of the soil. Indeed, even after the weather breaks with “But tonight,” a poem that falls toward the back half of the collection and finds Fant shaking “the shrapnel of racism” from her hair, there remain echoes of past pains, which continue to vibrate beneath the surface even after the poet has turned her petals toward the sun.

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