Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s new book of poetry, Love Cake, is a delight to read. I have to admit I’m not a big poetry reader, but I’ve been a fan of Leah’s since I saw her during Mangos with Chili a few years ago. It’s her politics (from books like The Revolution Starts at Home) and subject matter that draw me to her writing, but in the end, the lyricism, the bold images and textured descriptions pulled me through the book with ease.
Leah leaves no subject matter unspoken, and talks about her life in ways that are so raw that they completely inspire. I particularly relate to her mentions of race, which permeate the book. Leah, born to a Sri Lankan father and white Irish mother, constantly draws from these contexts and contradictions to talk about herself, race, identity and culture. As a light-skinned Latina of Cuban parents (one of whom arrived in Cuba via Eastern European Jewish parents), her discussions of race, identity, mixedness and belonging really resonated with me. She also takes no hesitation to address head on her own experiences of violence, at the hands of lovers and her own parents.
There is so much beauty, humor, pain and love in her work.
After the jump, a few excerpts from a few poem’s I really loved.
the war’s on and the rents high. but we have five minutes, a kitchen table. this breaking of skin. let’s take this. let me feed you anything you can be fed.
From “when even I got sick of it I wrote a poem”:
Mecury in retrograde and you have my cell phone charger:/this is a fucked up/month
From “TD Visa customer #209802929″:
The men on the front page of the Times look freaked the fuck/out/but the sky has been falling for a while./Apocalypse just ain’t enough to scare us/cuz we’ve lived through a few already/and that maybe/is the point.
From “god is in Ross Dress for Less”:
god’s definitely here. in all these tired-out brown women/looking through racks and racks of what’s not lying on the floor:/god comes through for us,/makes us fly and impossibly beautiful