As first posted on feministbookclub.com
Home.Girl.Hood. by Ebony Stewart is probably the most exceptional feminist collection of poetry that I have ever read.
This is a collection for every Black girl who has problems with feeling like enough. Enough Black. Enough smart. Enough strength. Enough woman.
This collection is for every Black girl who wants to be seen. Black girls who have been told their voice is too loud in order to silence them. Black girls with different hair every week who are seen as unprofessional. Black girls who are told to hide their bodies in order to protect them from violence. Black girls who are told to obey and shrink away from the power of men.
I felt these poems in my bones. These poems stripped Black girlhood to her very essence and reflected it back to us.
I read Ebony Stewart’s other poetry collection, BloodFresh, before I read Home.Girl.Hood. It was very interesting to see the growth between each of the collections; her growth as a writer, as an activist, and as a person.
One thing that slightly bothered me throughout the collection was the use of the words “womxn” and “womyn”. I reminded myself that Stewart wrote this poetry collection years before and re-released this year, and that might have been more acceptable then. To me, these words are transphobic, but it was interesting to see in the attached glossary that Stewart used these words because she thought “woman” was transphobic. Here’s an interesting explanation from when Twitch faced backlash from its users re: the word “womxn”. I guess I have my perspective because my transphobic, second-wave feminist professor in college strictly used “womxn”, so that’s why I don’t like to use them.
My favorite poems are Ode To My Pussy and On The Way Back To Myself. These poems made me feel especially powerful, but also broke me open. The preface was also powerful. She shared with us why writing is so integral to her life and how she got her start in childhood. I really connected to the medicinal forces of writing.
Overall, I would recommend this universal poetry collection for everyone, every girl and woman, but especially to Black girls and women everywhere.