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Now Available: Hollerin from This Shack by Grace C. Ocasio PDF Print E-mail

Ahadada Books is pleased to announce the publication of Hollerin from This Shack by Grace C. Ocasio. This title is now available from Small Press Distribution, in better bookstores and is now available direct from the publisher. Click here to order!

The poems in grace Ocasio's chapbook Hollerin from This Shack call us, challenge us to assess our lives.  Her speaker trains her eye on urban and suburban landscapes.  In many of the poems, she urges us to observe our daily rites:  how we behave at the grocery store or mall, how we treat the opposite sex, and how we view our position to nature.  We see ourselves in these poems and we cringe:  few heroes exist, and the ones who do existreal-life figures like Dr. King and Mother Hale—appear because of their referential or historical import. If we are disturbed by these poems we should be. Ocasio's vision is troubling, to say the least.

Grace Ocasio is a member of the North Carolina Writers' Network, the North Carolina Poetry Society, and the Carolina African American Writers' Collective.  She was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale and White Plains, New York.  She holds an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Recently, she completed a residency at the Soul Mountain Retreat in East Haddam, Connecticut.  Besides writing poetry, she contributes reviews of literary journals to the online Web site, The Review, Review.

Praise for Grace C. Ocasio:

The voice in all of the poems in Hollerin from This Shack is immediate, unpredictable, insightful and, at times, startling.  It's a friendly voice that encourages a closer look, then gains your trust so it can show what is extraordinary in the ordinary concerns of everyday life.  Grace Ocasio expands the traditional landscape in these carefully constructed poems and all are enriched who travel it with her.

            —Kevin Pilkington

Grace Ocasio writes poems that are powerful, loaded with subtext, and full of social consciousness.  She takes on the role of poet-philosopher, giving a voice to many who don't have a voice in our society.  In these pages, you will "listen to the sun's heart stutter." You will see "tears the size of grapefruits," "poverty's breath," and "objects that glowed like cotton candy."  Her poems speak for a soul group, "When the only thing that lived beside me was the dark."

            —Diane Frank, author of Blackberries in the Dream House and Entering the Word Temple

I approach Grace Ocasio's elegant, original, angry poems in Hollerin from This Shack with a certain humility.  As a black woman, she writes of prejudice with a taut rage that alternately smolders and blazes, blossoms in poems that sing with startling images.  Yet these pieces inhabit a universe of shyness and innocence, a world of fierce honestly that places her as a sister to poet Everett Hoagland, a daughter to poet Gloria Oden.  She often writes as a child, or as a woman about to be hurt. Ocasio summons up real tensions between men and women, women most always seen as victims to be.  She writes with depth of the fear stemming from roots scarred with racism.  Grace Ocasio outlines personal situations, but they carry a universal charge.  In unique ways, she takes on themes that deal with the killers of Martin Luther King, her emotions about Lady Day, and her admiration for Mother Hale.  Her stark language enriches us.  In "Our Lady Day" Grace Ocasio writes: "If you take her voice out/ you will see tears the size of grapefruits whirling down from the sky."

            —Judy Katz-Levine 

 
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