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ISBN (paperback): 978-1-932870-4-04
About the Book
Wesley possesses a distinctive, lyrical gift of the highest order…. The emotional appeal of her poetry is direct and accessible. She also has a dramatic gift and a masterly command of place.
– Robert H. Brown, Liberian Studies Journal
In this her fourth volume, I witness Patricia Jabbeh Wesley courageously dipping her pen into her own wound and splashing vivid imagery upon the canvas of her own skin. That is an illusion, for that pen is really a scalpel cutting the gangrenous and the rotten out of her nation’s violated flesh. But that too is an illusion. That scalpel is a steel tongue in a powerful Grebo woman’s mouth weaving a fine gauze from dirges, love songs, praise songs, fragments of aphoristic wisdom, fables, new myths, narrative and lyrical dialogues in order to bind our own wounded psyches. Proud Grebo women’s voices burst through her mouth to chastise depraved men who harvest babies to stoke diamond wars as they blaze through forests of dry human bones in their imported death chariots. Beyond celebrating these fiery taboo-breaking warrior women who are passionate about peace, justice, their right to forbidden fantasies, she also claims her place, though exiled, in the lineage. Condemned to bear upon her back her home, she is the strong earthen vessel that safeguards the essential spiritual Grebo values bequeathed to her by the village elders in a circle. Because moving is never a leaving, memories of home constantly surge through the poet’s wry humor and wit that serve as balm for the ever-nagging pain. To honor her ancestors’ memories Wesley has planted these enduring trees whose fruits must nourish us all if we are willing to avail ourselves of her poetic gifts. These are brave and fearless poems in a harsh dark season, yet necessary for the witness they bear to human folly while insisting on our capacity to love. With each new volume, her voice grows stronger as it blends with those of Ama Ata Aidoo, Alda do Espirito Santo, and Jeni Couzyn. She is without doubt among the most powerful of the younger generation of African poets.
— Frank M. Chipasula, editor, Bending the Bow: An Anthology of African Poetry / co-editor of The Heinemann Book of African Women’s Poetry
About the Author
Patricia Jabbeh Wesley is a survivor of the Liberian Civil War that ravaged the country from 1989-2003. Besides her most recent book, Where the Road Turns, she is the author of three previous books of poetry, The River is Rising (published by Autumn House Press), Becoming Ebony and Before the Palm Could Bloom: Poems of Africa. Currently at work on her memoir of the Liberian Civil War, Patricia teaches English, Creative Writing, and African Literature at Penn State University, Altoona. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.