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Onomatopoeia bursts into the scene with the very special snap that characterizes Shaheed's poetry. Askia M. Touré, winner of the 1989 American Book Award in Poetry, has written: "Margie Shaheed's sonorous chapbook Onomatopoeia is a subtle though visionary chant to life's sacred essence, clad in the colloquial rhythms of the ordinary working people in America's contemporary inner cities. She uses such everyday tasks as catching the bus to bring the reader face-to-face with cultural experiences which are often hidden by the sensational headlines of the corporate media. In her often dramatic urban serenades, the black, brown and beige folks come center stage to share their tortured brilliance, subtle language and survival wisdom with a spiritually starved world. I look forward to future sagas from this gifted cultural shaman." Onomatopoeia is 32 pages long and contains 21 poems. These poems are story and recollection, celebration and protest, gift and reclamation. Shaheed tells of "Catching the Bus" and "Overheard Conversation", of "American Wildfire: Ferguson, Missouri" and "Rhyme and Rituals". Dr. Mary Weems of Cleveland wrote, after reading the poems in Shaheed's first book, Mosaic: "These are the poems of a storyteller clearly connected to her African ancestry, oral tradition, and the history of Black people in America." Margie Shaheed is a community poet, writer, and dynamic performance artist who conducts creative writing workshops for children and adults in a variety of settings, including traditional classrooms, libraries, theaters, and community arts centers. Believing poetry to be a tool for personal healing, she also conducts poetry workshops in clinical settings, including community health centers and outpatient substance abuse programs.
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