Mend : Poems
The inventor of the speculum, J. Marion Sims, is celebrated as the "father of modern gynecology," and a memorial at his birthplace honors "his service to suffering women, empress and slave alike." These tributes whitewash the fact that Sims achieved his surgical breakthroughs by experimenting on eleven enslaved African American women. Lent to Sims by their owners, these women were forced to undergo operations without their consent. Today, the names of all but three of these women are lost. In Mend: Poems, Kwoya Fagin Maples gives voice to the enslaved women named in Sims's autobiography: Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy. In poems exploring imagined memories and experiences relayed from hospital beds, the speakers challenge Sims's lies, mourn their trampled dignity, name their suffering in spirit, and speak of their bodies as "bruised fruit." At the same time, they are more than his victims, and the poems celebrate their humanity, their feelings, their memories, and their selves. A finalist for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Donald Hall Prize for Poetry, this debut collection illuminates a complex and disturbing chapter of the African American experience.
- Paperback | 96 pages
- 140 x 216 x 5.84mm | 131.54g
- 26 Sep 2018
- The University Press of Kentucky
- Lexington, United States
Other books in this series
This is a powerful book that illuminates one more complex, disturbing chapter of the African-American experience, a nineteenth-century white male physician's gynecological experiments on female slaves. MEND is a brutal story, lyrically told in the voices of three of those women, and its author has memorably created both a painful reminder and a beautiful tribute."" - Kim Addonizio, author of Mortal Trash: Poems and Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within
About Kwoya Fagin Maples
Kwoya Fagin Maples teaches creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Her work has appeared in a chapbook, Something of Yours, and in several journals and anthologies, including Blackbird, the Berkeley Poetry Review, the African-American Review, PLUCK!, Cave Canem Anthology XIII, and Sow's Ear Poetry Review.