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Perfect Black

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Crystal Wilkinson combines a deep love for her rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling in this compelling collection of poetry and prose about girlhood, racism, and political awakening, imbued with vivid imagery of growing up in Southern Appalachia. In Perfect Black, the acclaimed writer muses on such topics as motherhood, the politics of her Black body, l Crystal Wilkinson combines a deep love for her rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling in this compelling collection of poetry and prose about girlhood, racism, and political awakening, imbued with vivid imagery of growing up in Southern Appalachia. In Perfect Black, the acclaimed writer muses on such topics as motherhood, the politics of her Black body, lost fathers, mental illness, sexual abuse, and religion. It is a captivating conversation about life, love, loss, and pain, interwoven with striking illustrations by her long-time partner, Ronald W. Davis.


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Crystal Wilkinson combines a deep love for her rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling in this compelling collection of poetry and prose about girlhood, racism, and political awakening, imbued with vivid imagery of growing up in Southern Appalachia. In Perfect Black, the acclaimed writer muses on such topics as motherhood, the politics of her Black body, l Crystal Wilkinson combines a deep love for her rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling in this compelling collection of poetry and prose about girlhood, racism, and political awakening, imbued with vivid imagery of growing up in Southern Appalachia. In Perfect Black, the acclaimed writer muses on such topics as motherhood, the politics of her Black body, lost fathers, mental illness, sexual abuse, and religion. It is a captivating conversation about life, love, loss, and pain, interwoven with striking illustrations by her long-time partner, Ronald W. Davis.

30 review for Perfect Black

  1. 4 out of 5

    Susan Barber

    Loved, loved, loved this collection that reads in a way like a memoir.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Glenda

    For anyone who feels a deep longing for childhood home, a nostalgia for family stories and relationships, and for those who want to understand more about the pull of place, this gorgeous collection of poetry and memories will fill a void and satiate the soul’s hunger.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Oscar

    Tender, startling poems, country as all get out. Fascinated by the repeated material in the poems “The Creek” and “A Meditation on Grief.” I have never seen a collection quite like this and have already used it to teach a class of young poets.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Evocative. Exquisite. Essential. This is the type of book I will read again and again. The author takes the reader on an extraordinary journey through the path of her childhood and upbringing, right up to the phenomenal woman she is today. Her imagery is so vivid, you can smell and taste the foods in the kitchen settings she describes. In “Dig If You Will the Picture,” she brings you right there with her dancing to Prince music when she shows the deeper reason why his music resonates so much to Evocative. Exquisite. Essential. This is the type of book I will read again and again. The author takes the reader on an extraordinary journey through the path of her childhood and upbringing, right up to the phenomenal woman she is today. Her imagery is so vivid, you can smell and taste the foods in the kitchen settings she describes. In “Dig If You Will the Picture,” she brings you right there with her dancing to Prince music when she shows the deeper reason why his music resonates so much to her. I was her amen corner when I read “Mother’s Day” and “Dear Johnny P.” I could relate to the entire book but especially the poems “On Being Country” and “Black & Fat & Perfect.” The illustrations are also extraordinary. Created by the author’s partner, they are the perfect complement to her words, just as he is in life. I absolutely love this book. Run and get your copy so that you have something to cherish each read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    thoughts coming shortly

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sofie

    Absolutely breathtaking. An incredible collection of poems.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susanna

    A beautiful collection/memoir by Crystal Wilkinson with stark, well-placed illustrations by Ron Davis. These brief pieces will punch you in the heart.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Porto

    Perfect Black is a book of moving and heartfelt poetry with images that conjure the childhood and motherhood of a beautiful and creative writer. I laughed and wept as I read Crystal Wilkinson's lyrical stories. Perfect Black is a book of moving and heartfelt poetry with images that conjure the childhood and motherhood of a beautiful and creative writer. I laughed and wept as I read Crystal Wilkinson's lyrical stories.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Beautiful heartbreaking truths. I took this collection in slowly, and I still need to read it again to absorb it all. Every poem is rich, and the whole book offers a deep experience I can’t recommend enough.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julia Holloway

    What a wonderful, magical, heartbreaking, joyful collection of poems. Crystal Wilkinson’s voice speaks of time past, the present and the future. It would have been possible to read this collection in one sitting but I tried to space it out. To sit with her words. Highly recommend.

  11. 4 out of 5

    JordanLaney

    Beautiful. A gift to poetry readers, folks interested in family, healing, resilience, stories... will read again and again.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Hagan

    LOVE! This book is stunning!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chioma Ezeano

    Beautiful verses about longing and childhood and memory and looking back and pastness of the past. And it is the language that will stay with you, linger, sweet-scented rain. A recommended read for everyone looking for the beautiful things language can do. The standing metaphors and giant imageries. my god! I found myself weeping, yearning to hold my childhood, the traditions, the women that came before me. This book is a gift, a parcelled gift. Crystal is a gift.

  14. 5 out of 5

    John Bunyan

    This is a wonderful, lyrical book of poetry and memories. Crystal reflects on being a girl, a writer, a lover, a daughter; she sings about Appalachia, about ancestors, about anger, about awakening. My favorite section is Praise Song for the Kitchen Ghosts, illuminating all the women, generations past, peering over her shoulder as she cooks, as she writes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Sandusky

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dani Bee

  17. 5 out of 5

    Angel

  18. 5 out of 5

    Venecia Proctor

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marcie

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vicki (kybookgirl)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Frodge

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dale Cousins

  25. 5 out of 5

    Terre

  26. 5 out of 5

    Travis

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nicole (book.quill)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  29. 5 out of 5

    Allison

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

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