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Grocery Shopping with My Mother

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“Kevin Powell returns with a poetic time capsule written with love in honor of his mother’s evolution. Powell investigates the nature of our country's oppression through the generational wounds survived and passed on. These poems are a testament to the healing work of Kevin Powell, as they revel in the power of forgiveness, abundance, and lineage.” —Mahogany L. Browne, Lincoln Center's inaugural poet in residence and author of Vinyl Moon

When Kevin Powell’s elderly mother became ill, he returned home every week to take her grocery shopping in Jersey City. Walking behind her during those trips, Powell began to hear her voice, stories, and language in a new way—examining his own healing while praying for hers.

Grocery Shopping with My Mother originated as social media posts about these visits and evolved into a breathtaking collection of thirty-two new poems, crafted like an album, plus four bonus tracks celebrating a great love of wordplay. Culturally rooted in the literary traditions of Ntozake Shange and Allen Ginsberg, Powell’s poems honor the likes of V (formerly Eve Ensler), bell hooks, and Sidney Poitier.

Grocery Shopping with My Mother dives into the complexities of relationships and contemporary themes with honesty and vulnerability. Creatively and spiritually inspired by Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, Powell’s poems shift in form and style, from praise chants to reverential meditations to, most importantly, innovative hope.

ISBN-13: 9781593767433

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Catapult

Publication Date: 12-06-2022

Pages: 192

Product Dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

KEVIN POWELL is one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary, and hip-hop voices in the United States. A poet, journalist, civil and human rights activist, and filmmaker, he is the author of fourteen previous books. Powell’s next title will be a biography of Tupac Shakur. A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Table of Contents

Poet's Note xv

Side 1

Grocery Shopping with My Mother 3

A Praise Song for Sidney Pokier 14

Happy 22

Brotha Man 25

For Miss Shirley LeFlore 30

For Miguel Algarín 37

For Cicely Tyson 40

Call Him D-Nice 44

For V (formerly Eve Ensler) 51

Dear Kobe 55

Letter to bell hooks 60

Compass: I 68

For New York City 71

Hope Wanted 75

Our Mothers 77

The Beatles 79

Side 2

We them people 83

Tupac and Biggie 88

Haiku for Black Boys 98

Enough 99

Baseball 100

My Father 107

Janet Jackson Never Lies 111

When I Found Malcolm X 113

America 117

I am magic 123

Haiku for Vangie 130

Valentine Haiku 131

For You 132

Love 134

Jamaican Love Poem 136

A Love Sonnet 138

Bonus Tracks

For aunt cathy 141

Reality Check 151

September 11th 155

Son2Mother 157

Acknowledgments 166

Self-Portrait 169

Kevin Powell's Previous Books 171