The title of Wife is both ironic and deeply serious. There are wittily sharp poems with a disabused feminist perspective on the gender inequalities and potential prisons of marriage, but they are in dialogue with poems that celebrate the physical joys of intimacy and poems that explore the processes of self-creation that take place in the closeness to the male other.
There are poems that are cutting about male self-deceptions and arrogation of power that speak to poems displaying deep sensitivity to the aloneness of the embattled male psyche. This is not verse in the confessional mode, but poems that take on other voices, other histories and explore the relationship between experiences and the way we mythologise them.
These spare, elegant poems are not only intensely focused on the body and attentive to the minutiae of domestic space, but they make connections to the worlds of family, church, village and nation – and, in one particular poem, the soul. Their context is a Virgin Islands’ past and a Black American present, but these are poems committed to an enlarged human future.