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Connecting Medium

Written by n/a for The English Review on no date provided

Dorothea Smartt was born in London and is of Barbadian heritage. Her poetry tackles multilayered cultural myths and the real-life experiences of black women. She was Brixton Market’s first Poet-in-Residence and her work has received critical attention in both Britain and the USA.

‘black girl shuffle’ is taken from Connecting Medium which was published by Peepal Tree Press in 2001. This is Dorothea Smartt’s first published collection: it links the past to the present, the Caribbean to England, and includes a powerful sequence of poems about a black Medusa.

black girl shuffle

no school no reason
to go outside
2-room 58 yelverton road.

banned from the limo
my white shoes shuffle
time-steps on a blackboard
doing my thing all summer
break on a small square space

there was one bed
I lay in
made up for four
often sleeping one
or three but
I never slept alone.

our space kept us
tight -- me and sis
we were one
of two-tapping feet
for this small girl someone 
was always there --
a safe world. Home

on this syncopated space
bronze-medal toes
tap my mind out of corners
skip, time-travel, glide
rhythms of worlds inside myself
sounding out time
stepping on a blackboard.

This is a review of Connecting Medium

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