“Haki R. Madhubuti knows that nothing human is elegant. He is not interested in modes of writing that aspire to elegance. He is well acquainted with “elegant’ literature (what hasn’t he read) but, while certainly respecting the advantages and influence of good workmanship, he is not interested in supplying the need of Harvard or Oxford, nor the editors of the Partisan Review, although he could mightily serve as a fact factory for these. he speaks to Black hungry for what they themselves refer to as “real poetry. The Black find themselves and the stuff of their existence in his healthy lithe lustry reaches of free verse. The last thing these people crave is elegance. It is very hard to enchant, with elegant song, the ears of a fellow whose stomach is growling. He can’t hear you. The more interesting noise is loud.”
—Gwendolyn Brooks, U.S. Poet Laureate (1985 1986)
In these new and selected poems Madhubuti, formerly Don L. Lee, poet, publisher, editor, and activist, places us in lyrical proximity to a legacy of women whose lives he honors with heart warm verses and timeless reverence. Each poem is a vivid portraiture of the “magnificent energy” emanating from a rainbow of Black women. In this mosaic collection of poetry, Madhubuti celebrates the luminous spirits of women whose visible ’greatness’ has left an indelible mark on his life’s work. In Taught By Women, Madhubuti sings their struggles and praises with pitch perfect precision, every note — an empowering song and unforgettable melody.
Taught by Women: Poems as Resistance Language: New and Selected