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My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter is poet Aja Monet’s ode to mothers, daughters, and sisters—the tiny gods who fight to change the world.
Textured with the sights and sounds of growing up in East New York in the nineties, to school on the South Side of Chicago, all the way to the olive groves of Palestine, these stunning poems tackle racism, sexism, genocide, displacement, heartbreak, and grief, but also love, motherhood, spirituality, and Black joy.
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Aja Monet is a Caribbean-American poet, performer, and educator from Brooklyn. She has been awarded the Andrea Klein Willison Prize for Poetry and the Nuyorican Poet’s Café Grand Slam title, as well as the New York City YWCA’s “One to Watch Award.” She is the author of The Black Unicorn Sings and the co-editor, with Saul Williams, of Chorus: A Literary Mixtape. She lives in Little Haiti, Miami, where she is a co-founder of Smoke Signals Studio and dedicates her time merging arts and culture in community organizing with the Dream Defenders and the Community Justice Project.Review:
"Aja Monet ‘s poetry offers us textures of feeling and radical shifts of meaning that expand our capacity to envision and fight for new worlds. From Brooklyn, USA to Hebron, Occupied Palestine, we take a feminist journey through rage and serenity, through violence and love, through ancient times and imagined futures. This stunning volume reminds us that conflict and contradiction can produce hope and that poetry can orient us toward a future we may not yet realize we want.”
–Angela Y. Davis
"We who follow the dynamic poetry of Aja Monet know her to be a wizard of optimism and musicality. My Mother Was A Freedom Fighter reminds us of her wisdom. These poems are made of the black woman genius they praise: "the ghost of women once girls," "mothers who did the best they could," and "daughters of a new day." Monet is a child of old school black power and a daughter of the myriad political traumas of today. Her poetry is indispensable. These poems are fire.”
–Terrance Hayes, author of How to Be Drawn
“Thank you, Aja Monet.”
“Interesting, powerful, at times challenging poetry.”
“A triumphant collection."
“Stunning and evocative... fierce and revolutionary.”
—Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“A bold, intimate and powerful collection of poems.”
“Aja Monet’s writing blazes in these breathtakingly fierce poems.”
“Generations of women, fighters all, live and breath in Monet's poetry... this book is a torch in the dark.”
“A testament to the brilliance of Black women, from the South Side of Chicago and beyond.”
“This might be THE single poetry collection I am most excited about this year.”
“Aja Monet’s poetry, like her activism, is one of resistance and reimagining. It resists simplicity, instead opening up new vistas for the reader and new points of entry into perspectives that are largely ignored; she gives voices to the marginalized and forgotten and imagines worlds in which those voices can ring out.”
—The Los Angeles Review
“My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter turns bodies that have been used as weapons into weapons of liberation. We cannot be contained.”
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