Joseph Ross Reviews “let the dead in”
Ross praises the new Saida Agostini collection in his review titled, "If You Love the Living, Get Saida Agostini’s 'let the dead in'"
Poet and critic, Joseph Ross, tackles the wrinkles and crevasses of Saida Agostini's maverick debut poetry collection, let the dead in. let the dead in, is an exploration of the mythologies that seek to subjugate Black bodies, and the counter-stories that reject such subjugation. Audacious, sensual, and grieving, this work explores how Black women harness the fantastic to craft their own road to freedom. A journey across Guyana, London, and the United States, it is a meditation on black womanhood, queerness, the legacy of colonization, and pleasure. These poems craft a creation story fat with love, queerness, mermaids, and blackness.
An excerpt from Ross' review follows.
Read the full review here
Saida Agostina’s collection, let the dead in, reminds me. It reminds me to remember the richness of living, the beauty of love in places we don’t expect. This beautiful collection of poems is a tap on the shoulder, followed by this advice: “Look everywhere for beauty.”
let the dead in begins with beauty before you open its pages. The cover, a painting by Stephen Towns, a Baltimore painter and fabric artist, provides a visual feast for this gathering of poems. Towns’ painting, titled “All Is Vanity,” shows us a Black woman standing in what might be a cane field, beneath a canopy of cards, bearing images of people. The woman, halo-clad, indicating her own holiness, stares directly at the viewer/reader. This is just what Agostini’s poems will do in the pages to come. She stares right at us, asking, daring, insisting that we see people and places: Black women, people who have suffered erasure, her mother, her granny, her great granny, Guyana, people whose bodies and loves are often ignored or despised. The book unfolds into three sections, which the people at Alan Squire Press, including co-founder Rose Solari, have formatted beautifully, with space and simplicity.
In this audio-only feature, the Maryland Poet Laureate’s poem is read by Amanda Holmes of The American Scholar
Torch Literary Arts, a non-profit literary organization with the goal of raising the creative voices of black women writers, has selected Saida Agostini as their featured artist of July.
“Agostini’s socially and spiritually aware poetry collection ‘Let the Dead In’ focuses on the duality between love and hate along with the way that these concepts integrate and clash”