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Flashbacks: Echoes of Past Issues

MEMORIES FOR SAFEKEEPING a review by L. Teresa Church Lenard D. Moore. The Open Eye. 30th anniversary edition. Eugene, OR: Mountain & Rivers Press, 2015. Glenis Redmond. What My Hand Say. Winston-Salem, NC: Press 53, 2016.

L. TERESA CHURCH has been a member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective since 1995. She currently serves as archivist for the organization and has served as Membership Chair since 2002. Her play One Day When I Was Lost was awarded the North Carolina Arts Council’s playwrights fellowship in 1989. Her writings have appeared in a variety of publications, including Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, Word and Witness: 100 Years of North Carolina Poetry, African American Review, Pembroke Magazine, and several issues of NCLR. She has degrees in English and English/Creative Writing from Radford College and Brown University, respectively, and a master’s degree in Library Science and PhD in Information and Library Science from UNC Chapel Hill. Read about LENARD D. MOORE with a sample of his poetry on the facing page, and read more about him in L. Teresa Church’s NCLR 2016 essay on the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective, which he founded.

Kindred threads of memory run through Lenard D. Moore’s thirtieth anniversary edition of his haiku collection, The Open Eye, and Glenis Redmond’s new poetry collection, What My Hand Say. These works are carefully stitched together with language and imagery that bring into sharp focus people, places, events, and particular moments in time. In his collection, Moore experiments with the haiku form and focuses upon the natural world, inspired, it seems by his coming of age in a rural community and time spent working in the tobacco fields of Eastern North Carolina. Redmond has lived in North and South Carolina. She also writes about rural life and culture. Her poetry trowels back layer after layer of Southern soil to unearth memories of families and communities. The Open Eye and What My Hand Say illustrate the power that African American poetry wields in preserving the past for the present and the future. The title of The Open Eye suggests the act of paying close attention to one’s surroundings. Lenard D. Moore evidences his adeptness in that regard. Through his economy of language – a main feature of haiku, of course – and his observations of nature, this collection constitutes an archive filled with poetic snapshots and lasting images. Moore’s sparse words and juxtapositions provide entrée to occurrences in the natural world in ways that cameras and other recording devices



cannot achieve. Considering the proliferation of residential communities, shopping centers, and other commercial concerns that continually transform natural landscapes, The Open Eye is perhaps more timely now than when it was first published. Ninety-four poems are included among the book’s four sections. Each section is named for one of the four seasons of the year, inspiring readers to ponder deeper meanings of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. These chronological periods serve as guideposts for navigating the collection from start to finish and represent various phases of the human life cycle, from birth to death. These poems also evoke the five senses, at least one of which is a required element in haiku. Inasmuch as Moore identifies tangible aspects of the natural world, he implores readers to consider their own place within nature. The first poem of the book, “Spring plowing . . . / how long it lasts / the rooster’s call,” suggests birth and renewal. Images come to mind of men in earlier times, gripping plow handles and issuing commands to horses and mules. Or one might hear the more recent rumble of tractors furrowing dusty fields. Metaphorically, one might think of how we plow through some days. Spring embodies so much more than blooming flowers and trees – the croak of amphibians emerging from hibernation, and the preparations necessary for planting crops, for example. Moore also examines the nature and significance of spring in relation to factors such as the

GLENIS REDMOND is an award-winning poet, known also for her teaching. For the past dozen years, she has been travelling both domestically and abroad, sharing her talents for writing and teaching across the globe. She has received the Carrie McCray literary award and has been awarded fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Vermont Writing Center, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She is also a Cave Canem fellow. Her poetry has appeared in various publications, including Obsidian II: Black Literature in Review, Appalachian Journal, Appalachian Heritage, Kakalak, African Voices, and NCLR 2012 and 2014, and NCLR Online 2014.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.