Obama’s Children: Poems
by Earl S. Braggs
A universal quest for human dignity and acknowledgement made specific through the Black experience.
A country boy from Wilmington N.C., Earl S. Braggs is a UC and Battle Professor of English at the U of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His awards include the International Jack Kerouac Literary Prize and the Anhinga Poetry Prize. Braggs is the author of fourteen poetry collections including Negro Side of the Moon and Ugly Love.
What people are saying about Obama’s Children:
If poetry is music, Earl Braggs is its composer. And what he composes is jazz—smoky, sensual, serpentine stanzas of jazzy poetry at its improvisational best: staccato-trumpeting lines, tempo-driven voices, melodic repetitions, lowdown bluesy fragmentations of logic and sensibility… pouring into the corners of our consciousness, ragtiming us into booty-shaking highs and tenor-saxing us into deep deep downs. Such is jazz. Such is poetry. Such is jazz and poetry together. And such is this jazz-riffing collection.
“Like notes of jazz played between notes of jazz music,” Obama’s Children is a headlong riff on the motifs of race, history, legacy and love. These vital poems reverberate with elements of improvisation and pastiche and are galvanized by exultant word play and an ecstatic vividness of spirit. Of Earl S. Braggs’ many collections, Obama’s Children is a fearless, sparkling magnum opus.
Earl Braggs is his own man. His poems are a personal and public history of America told in numerous personas, poetic syntax, and a dancing rhythmic narrative that carries the reader into stories that seem familiar yet are often a bit askew. It’s like looking at the world through old glass windows—streets, cars, trees, people, and history are wavy and grainy but not untrue. The truth is in the spirit, in the heart of the work and the poet. Book after book reveals what it’s like to be a Black man in the United States, and therefore, what it’s like to be an American.