YA Poetry Arc Review: Say Her Name (Poems to Empower) by Zetta Elliot

Posted April 25, 2021 by Richetta in #ownvoices, Arc Review, Book Reviews, poetry, Young Adult / 0 Comments

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I received this book for free from ALAN Workshop in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

YA Poetry Arc Review: Say Her Name (Poems to Empower) by Zetta ElliotSay Her Name by Zetta Elliott
Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 14, 2020
Genres: African American & Black, Girls & Women, People & Places, Poetry, United States, Young Adult Nonfiction
Pages: 96
Source: ALAN Workshop

Inspired by the #SayHerName campaign launched by the African American Policy Forum, these poems pay tribute to victims of police brutality as well as the activists insisting that Black Lives Matter. Elliott engages poets from the past two centuries to create a chorus of voices celebrating the creativity, resilience, and courage of Black women and girls.This collection features forty-nine powerful poems, four of which are tribute poems inspired by the works of Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni, and Phillis Wheatley. This provocative collection will move every reader to reflect, respond-and act.

It isn’t often that I finish an entire poetry book in one sitting. But Say Her Name was so powerful and heartbreaking and uplifting that I had no choice, because it spoke to my spirit. I read this for the first time in June 2020 and it was the balm I needed at that moment to keep persevering despite the unrest of the world.

Ms. Elliot’s collection features pieces that I could hear/see myself in. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for a black woman it absolutely is monumental. Pieces like ” Panther”, “For My People”, “How to Resist” and “Self/Care” resonated with me as a Black Mother, Woman and Nerd. But every single poem in this book is worth your time and discussion. It explores race, gender, police brutality, protest, activism and the essence of what it feels like to be a Black woman/girl in America.

  • Would I Read It Again? Yes, absolutely!
  • Educator Recommended: Absolutely, yes! I believe this should be in every classroom library and brought into curriculums/lesson plans. The poetry is powerful and will invoke conversations that are powerful and needed. It is a great candidate for a poetry study connected to current events.

I received a free hard copy of this book from the publisher at the NCTE Convention.

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