Below is an excerpt from DM O’Connor’s review in New Pages of Cameron Barnett’s The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water. To read the full review, visit the New Pages’ site here.
When I first read these words on a flight to Bordeaux, I could not stop thinking about James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, and all the other African American artists who were forced abroad in order to live and work freely. The daily police murders, the school-to-prison pipeline, the judicial system’s gross injustices, the media’s gross misrepresentation, and the day-after-day microaggressions added onto the ghastly history of systematic racism make The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water a crucial collection.
If you are not ready to confront racial prejudices, then these poems will disturb and shock. If you are ready to face, discuss, and absorb America’s racialization, then Barnett’s verse will fill you rage, love, and tears. Forceful, dominant and unforgettable, Barnett’s words open doors with fire axes and halt ignorance with a glance.
Review originally posted on August 01, 2018 on newpages.com.