Trouble Funk by Douglas Manuel
Red Hen Press, April 2023
The speaker of Douglas Manuel’s Testify, a book of elegiac interrogations of race in America, returns to divulge his parents’ love story in the forthcoming poetry collection, Trouble Funk. Set in Anderson, Indiana in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, Trouble Funk exposes ways Black Love is thwarted but never destroyed by racism, classism, and sexism. Eschewing the “lyrical I” in favor of a third person omniscient point of view, Manuel exhibits how the latter half of the twentieth century rhymes with our current moment when it comes to political division, the hardships that Black folks face, and the rise of toxic right-wing policies. In many ways, Trouble Funk serves as a prequel to Testify, in which Manuel seeks to better understand and love himself, his family, and his country.