C. O. Aptowicz (NYC, NY) -
In her latest small book (4" x 4"), New York City poetry Mahogany Browne proves her skill at mixing together seemingly disparate elements -- the poetic and the conversational, the public and the private, the heart-breaking and the hilarious, the enduring and the fleeting. Written during an election year, the book in unafraid to reference politics in numerous ways -- both overt & subtle. In "Sweet Potato Pie," Browne swears she sees Obama "boarding the A-train in Brooklyn" with his "swagger and caesar haircut." Later, she addresses poems to Michelle Obama, to Hilary Clinton and to a voter who said "I'd rather vote for a McCain than a Terrorist Lover." Not afraid to speak her mind, Browne further addresses poems to cab drivers who won't stop to pick her up, to the girl on MTV's "The Real World" who said "I don't care if you are the ghettoist person in the blackest part of Blackety Black Black Blackville," and to her ex who lingers and burns -- in part because they share a child.
But make no mistake, these aren't dismissable rants -- Browne's poems are thoughtful, engaged and honest. She writes tenderly about her daughter, her grandmother and the children she teaches. She shares both her greatest hopes and her greatest fears about what her past, present and future. She is a smart, informed writer living and working in New York City, and this pocket-sized collection is a celebration of that, and then some.