Poetry Harambee Grey-Sun The Black Ball

ISBN 13: 9780773434516

The Black Ball

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9780773434516: The Black Ball

A dramatic narrative poem about revenge and reformation. It chronicles the thoughts and actions of several students at a small secluded college who lament the passing of the good old days, and resolve to right perceived past wrongs.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Author:

This sequel to Spring's Fall (which is available to read for free at nextpoet.net) is longer and denser than its predecessor.  I admit that it is not for everyone, but those who love language for language's sake (or those who liked Spring's Fall) should give it a try.

From the Inside Flap:

The story of The Black Ball is really the separate-but-intertwining stories of a few bright but psychologically damaged college students who are trying, failing, and trying again to make a new beginning in their respective lives. Each initially came to the private and progressive Castle College with high hopes, but conflict inevitably arises as too many subscribe to the belief that success in the complicated "new beginning" process can only come about by destroying parts of the past (real or imagined) and bits of the present, re-ordering whatever pieces are left to ensure a bright future.

The story primarily focuses on the four-year quest of Octaven, a young adult with some particularly salacious skeletons and ghosts in his past. Psychologically and physically, he attempts to distance himself from his hometown, childhood, and recently deceased mother by attending Castle College, hoping while there to repent for all his past mistakes by completely remaking himself, mind, body and spirit. His problems begin when he decides to expand his re-creation project to include re-creating the entire campus environment to fit his new ideal self. He is not alone.

Almost everyone at Castle College seems to have an agenda that involves re-creation. They can hardly be blamed, attending an experimental college located in Paradise, a village that exists solely for the institution of higher learning. Castle College is, in a sense, much like a religious college. At this particular campus, however, the administration has initiated a program that has the grand goal of making intellectually and morally superior young adults and releasing them out into the world in order to reform it, ushering in a new golden age. The program is unofficially known as the "King's Dream" and involves an intense socialization process whereby each student is not only exposed to other students from different backgrounds, but also strongly encouraged to interact in every way with these differently cultured students. The thinking behind the Dream is that, as individuals vigorously interact with others holding different philosophies, ideologies and creeds, they will become intellectually and morally stimulated and strengthened -- assuming, that is, they take it all in with an open mind.

It's human nature for people to prefer to do what's comfortable and stick to their own kind; in Paradise, it's no different. The King's Dream has been far from successful, as is immediately clear to Octaven upon his arrival. The campus is not only highly segregated, it's also unequal. Certain groups and individuals seem to have worked "the system" in order to attain access to better facilities and living quarters than others. Octaven sees this and vows to change it, feeling a particular sense of urgency as he belongs to a minority group (African-Americans) that seems oblivious to "the game" and, as a result, is losing it.

Whatever their background or current position in life, many individuals and cliques on campus are a little resentful about events that have happened in the past -- either to them personally, or to the group to which they pledge allegiance -- but they've managed to maintain a relatively peaceful if not necessarily happy coexistence with their fellow students.  Then Octaven's flamboyant activism stirs the pot. What was once a student cold war heats up as Octaven becomes more visible and more outspoken and, inevitably, more despised. In a perverse way, a part of Octaven enjoys his rebel status -- until some of those skeletons and ghosts from his past take on flesh and enter the present, reminding him that, before he can successfully effect any kind of positive reform in his increasingly chaotic surroundings, he must first deal with his own personal history and psychological turmoil.

If nothing else, Octaven and the students in Paradise will learn the dangerous consequences of the past forcefully entering the present.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Harambee Grey-Sun
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