The Gospel of Barbecue by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

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Review by Stephen Page

Arriving late in the evening at the ranch house my collie greets me and I give him some raw meat I had brought with me.  I eat a sandwich and drink a glass of milk and go to bed with Honorée Jeffers’ The Gospel of Barbeque (a gift from Ed Ochester), a collection of poems mostly from southern black women points of view.  Each poem is from a different narrator, yet each is written in the first person.  Unique and imbued with ethos, the collection takes the reader into the souls of the repressed to look out upon the world with hope and tenacity.  Jeffers’ voice and style are exemplary. I read it several times and fall asleep around four in the morning.  I wake up early to the sound of rain tapping on the corrugated roof of my office (we have been in a dry spell).  I open a window so I can smell it, then sip a coffee at my desk while I journal and make a list of things to that day—edit a poem, edit the cover letter, meet the employees, walk about the ranch a bit and check on the state of the fattening calves and inspect the new water tank in lot eight.  I sit back and smile, and think how lucky I am to have this life.  Lucky, lucky, lucky.  Oh, did I tell you I read Gerald Stern last month?

You can find the book here: http://www.kentstateuniversitypress.com/2010/the-gospel-of-barbecue/

Stephen Page is the  author of “A Ranch Bordering the Salt River.”. He can be found at

https://smpages.wordpress.com/

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