Ntozake Shange is (a Girl Power Academy) featured Poet recommendation

Poet Ntozake Shange reading at the Global Fund for Women
Poet Ntozake Shange reading at the Global Fund for Women

Ntozake Shange was born Paulette Williams into an upper middle-class African-American family. Her father was an Air Force surgeon and her mother a psychiatric social worker. Cultural icons like Dizzie Gillepsie, Miles Davis and W.E.B. DuBois were regular guests in the Williams home. Shange attended Barnard College and UCLA, earning both a bachelors and master degree in American Studies. Shange’s college years were difficult, however, and frustrated and hurt after separating from her first husband, she attempted suicide several times before focusing her rage against the limitations society imposes on black women. While earning a master’s degree, she reaffirmed her personal strength based on a self-determined identity and took her African name, which means “she who comes with her own things” and she “who walks like a lion.” Since then she has sustained a triple career as an educator, a performer/director, and a writer whose work draws heavily on her experiences of being a black female in America.

To learn more about the poet check out: 

Poetry Foundation Bio for Ntozake Shange

“Enuf” Poem by Ntozake Shange
at 4:30 AM
she rose
movin the arms & legs that trapped her
she sighed affirmin the sculptured man
& made herself a bath
of dark musk oil egyptian crystals
& florida water to remove his smell
to wash away the glitter
to watch the butterflies melt into
suds & the rhinestones fall beneath
her buttocks like smooth pebbles
in a missouri creek
layin in water
she became herself
ordinary
brown braided woman
with big legs & full hips
reglar
seriously intendin to finish her
night’s work
she quickly walked to her guest
straddled on her pillows & began
æyou’ll have to go now /
i’ve
a lot of work to do / & i
cant
with a man around / here
are yr pants /
there’s coffee on the
stove / it’s been
very nice / but i cant see
you again /
you got what you came
for / didnt you’
& she smiled
he wd either mumble curses bout crazy bitches
or sit dumbfounded
while she repeated
æi cdnt possibly wake up / with
a strange man in my bed / why
dont you go home’
she cda been slapped upside the head
or verbally challenged
but she never waz
& the ones who fell prey to the
dazzle of hips painted with
orange blossoms & magnolia scented wrists
had wanted no more
than to lay between her sparklin thighs
& had planned on leaving before dawn
& she had been so divine
devastatingly bizarre the way
her mouth fit round
& now she stood a
reglar colored girl
fulla the same malice
livid indifference as a sistah
worn from supportin a wd be hornplayer
or waiting by the window
& they knew
& left in a hurry
she wd gather her tinsel &
jewels from the tub
& laugh gayly or vengeful
she stored her silk roses by her bed
& when she finished writin
the account of her exploit in a diary
embroidered with lilies & moonstones
she placed the rose behind her ear
& cried herself to sleep.


“Sorry” Poem by Ntozake Shange

one thing i don’t need
is any more apologies
i got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yrs
i don’t know what to do wit em
they dont open doors
or bring the sun back
they dont make me happy
or get a mornin paper
didnt nobody stop usin my tears to wash cars
cuz a sorry

i am simply tired
of collectin
i didnt know
i was so important toyou
i’m gonna haveta throw some away
i cant get to the clothes in my closet
for alla the sorries
i’m gonna tack a sign to my door
leave a message by the phone
‘if you called
to say yr sorry
call somebody
else
i dont use em anymore’
i let sorry/ didnt meanta/ & how cd i know abt that
take a walk down a dark & musty street in brooklyn
i’m gonna do exactly what i want to
& i wont be sorry for none of it
letta sorry soothe yr soul/ i’m gonna soothe mine
you were always inconsistent
doin somethin & then bein sorry
beatin my heart to death
talkin bout you sorry
well
i will not call
i’m not goin to be nice
i will raise my voice
& scream & holler
& break things & race the engine
& tell all yr secrets bout yrself to yr face
& i will list in detail everyone of my wonderful lovers
& their ways
i will play oliver lake
loud
& i wont be sorry for none of it
i loved you on purpose
i was open on purpose
i still crave vulnerability & close talk
& i’m not even sorry bout you bein sorry
you can carry all the guilt & grime ya wanna
just dont give it to me
i cant use another sorry
next time
you should admit
you’re mean/ low-down/ triflin/ & no count straight out
steada bein sorry alla the time
enjoy bein yrself

ntozake-shange-book-cover

A Laying on of Hands Poem by Ntozake Shange
from “for colored girls who have considered suicide  when the rainbow is enuf”

i waz missing somethin
somethin so important
somethin promised
a layin on of hands
fingers near my forehead
strong
cool
movin
makin me whole
sense pure
all the gods comin into me
layin me open to myself
i waz missing somethin
somethin promised
somethin free
a layin on of hands
i know bout/layin on bodies/layin outta man
bringin him alla my fleshy self & some of my pleasure
bein taken full eager wet like i get sometimes
i waz missing somethin
a layin on of hands
not a man
layin on
not my mama/holdin me tight/sayin
i’m laways gonna be her girl
not a layin on of bosom and womb
a layin on of hands
the holiness of myself released

i sat up one nite walkin a boardin house
screamin/cryin/the ghost of another woman
who waz missin what i waz missin
i wanted to jump up outta my bones
& be done wit myself
leave me alone
& go on in the wind
it waz too much
i fell into a numbness
til the only tree i cd see
took me up in her branches
held me in the breeze
made me dawn dew
that chill at daybreak
the sun wrapped me up swingin rose light everywhere
the sky laid over me like a million men
i waz cold/i waz burnin up/a child
& endlessly weavin garments for the moon
wit my tears
i found god in myself
& i loved her/i loved her fiercely

ntozake-shange-quote

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