I’ve become a major proponent of audiobooks in the past year, and this month has launched my interest in reading poetry via the format. Access to this book of poetry has come courtesy of Libro.fm who shared early access to Unraveling in exchange for a review.
Unraveling tells the tale of a Black man letting loose his concerns with the world, the U.S. in particular, by leaning on his faith in a higher power and letting the words that describe his observations flow through him. While much of the book includes pieces that have familiar rhyming and lyrically schemes to what you find in many poetry and hip hop performances, there are standout passages whose poignancy lingers long after you’ve moved onto the next poem. “Kobe” for instance, shines a light on what many of us must have concluded about the star’s final moments while also wrestling with the sense of grief that the author, Brandon Leake, felt vicariously. In “Unsure” the poet draws on evocative and illustrative language to display insecurity and imposter syndrome at its worst, a la passages such as
Sometimes I mistake my own reflection as a shadow.
The only worthy parts of myself are those they accept.
Displaying his disdain for the people who ignore the plight of citizens in Flint, MI, Leake crafts “Flint,” a short, yet impactful deliberation on the treatment of Black people in the United States through fitting water metaphors. With lines like
These aren’t corroding pipelines/These are corroding lifelines.
Flint, MI is 57% Black and we know that America has always considered us a pollutant to their distilled existence.
If you’re in the mood for poetry with an introspective bent, Brandon Leake’s Unraveling promises you just that.