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Baring My Soul

Cass' review of
Baring My Soul


Baring My Soul
Author: Stacey Tolbert, The Brown Suga Poet
Genre: Poetry
Publisher:Pinky Promises Publishing, a subsidiary of Sisterlocks Publishing
Author's site: http://www.geocities.com/StaceyReneeTolbert
Cass' interview with Stacey Tolbert

Review Copyright Cassandra Henry, 2004


Immediately, I was drawn to the cover of Baring My Soul. [See my interview with Stacey for a description of the cover]. She personally autographed her book, which read, "Sista, Enjoy. May you film these words and watch them often." Well, Stacey, you can be sure of one thing, I have enjoyed filming your words and I have read them often. The next thing that caught my eye was that her Suga Contents [Table of Content] contained names of different types of sugar packets as chapters -- e.g, Unrefined, Granulated, Refined, Cubes, Suga-Free, and Suga Overdose.

Her "Forward" reads, "Writing is the pulse of my existence and I no longer have a secret love affair with THE PEN. We are out of the closet, my pen and I!!! My pen has lectured me, preached to me, cried with me, and rejoiced with me, and it is NOW that we embrace and share our love openly with the world." And, that is exactly what The Brown Suga Poet does -- openly share her love with the world.

The Greek meaning of the name Stacey is the "Feminine form of Eustace: Fruitful, productive. Diminutive of Anastasia: Resurrection. One who will be reborn." Baring My Soul is the rebirth of Stacey Renee Tolbert's soul. Whether it is about social issues or self-love, her poems are a syncopated self-expression of raw emotions.

"I Used To Write Nice Poems"

. . .but
Write nice poems
. . . So I chant
Heart felt
Joy candy coated with pain
Tear stains
that the masses try to wipe away
. . .
I used to write about
Love . . .
Love isn't
Always nice
So I don't write nice poems
. . .
I used to only write about classical
Her-storical feats
But now
I have to write
About what stops
Peaceful sleep.
[Excerpt from "I Used To Write Nice Poems" (c) Stacey Tolbert]

After I read "I Used To Write Nice Poems" for the first time and numerous times since then, I almost felt as if I was watching Stacey revisit old wounds on Dr. Phil and praying that his resolution would invigorate her soul.

Suga's written poems almost read like performance poetry. Every wordplay inflection is metaphorically precise. For example, in "Before the Penetration. . ." or "Free":

"Before the Penetration. . ."

Way back when
Breasts were chests
Daddies and Uncles were a good kind of
I was
tad pole
over night I be frog
hop away
hiding from
lily pads that cause me to lay on my back
I knew nothing of
Aramis Hips
Pee pee was quick
crisp and clean
now pee pee held in bladder to
stop burning
scary unclean x-vagina now coochie
BabyLOVE, now guardedWOMB

[Excerpt from "Before the Penetration. . ." (c) Stacey Tolbert]



. . .Free like being able to see like
S t e v i e
And Ray Charles with a capital C
. . .
like Juneteenth barbecue all over my hands
licking it off
finger by finger
. . .
Free like pay day freedom
No bills
No notes due
No broke I "wannaberich" blues
Get me through till next time I owe u
Screwin' Peter
And flirtin' with Paul
. . .
Before wonder bras and maxi pads
Vietnam and suicidal dads

[Excerpt from "Free" (c) Stacey Tolbert]

About the Author
Stacey Renee Tolbert is the author of Baring My Soul. Stacey is the playwright, workshop facilitator and founder of Healertainment and Children's Poetry, Art and Music (C.P.A.M.). She is also a radio personality on KSDS, 88.3 FM Illfonix. Stacey is married and is the mother of two boys, and she calls San Diego, California home. To order Baring My Soul online, go to: http://www.amazon.com or http://www.sisterlocks.com or call 1-800-456-5032.



I could go on and on about how WONDERFUL Stacey Tolbert's debut book of poetry, Baring My Soul is, but I've already shared too much. I'll simply end with this, that poet, Adrienne Rich, said, "The moment of change is the only poem." I'm not sure when Stacey's moment of change occurred, but I do know that the answer can be found within her beautifully written collection of poems.


Copyright Cassandra Henry, 2004
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