"Locating Strongwoman" by Tolu Agbelusi (English Edition)
Locating Strongwoman is a portrait of unperformed femininity. Eschewing the stereotypical portrayal of the “Strong Woman” and the even more loaded “Strong Black Woman”, these poems invite the reader to interrogate the protagonists and find in their stories a quiet strength.
“...This is a book filled with want, love and the lack thereof, with striking lines like, As if he wasn’t a bed of nails your love/laid on and The factory of my body works/overtime. It teeters between violence and the razor-blade threat thereof. Straddling the inside and outside worlds on the head of a 'bobbing sewing needle,' Locating Strongwoman is visceral and raw, vulnerable and strong. It will leave you thinking and feeling long after you turn its last page”. Peter Kahn, author of Little Kings and co-editor of The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. “Through Locating Strongwoman, Tolu Agbelusi hosts a black women’s sleepover. Where we drink wine and share stories, about the many complexities of navigating our hearts, how we are our mother’s daughters and how our mothers are complex women. Strongwoman... The chilling truth behind this collection is that to be woman is to be silent... or silenced. Both in form and content, Locating Strongwoman is a trace of our mothers’ silences and the inevitable release of our own voices. Tolu paints in a language that is familiar and comforting. And how wonderful it is to find yourself, over and over in poetry! As the woman who cannot be pinned into a box and doesn’t want to be. To be seen”. —Vangile Gantsho, author of Red Cotton and Undressing in Front of the Window & co-founder of Impepho Press