A sparkling array of African American writers is featured in this issue of Pembroke Magazine. The editors chose to feature the Caroline African American Writers Collective (CAAWC), plus more African American prose and poetry.
The grand centerpiece is a forty-page collection of previously unpublished poems by premier author-poet Charles Edward Eaton, whose work has been praised by Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. “Closing Time,” the collection printed here, is an incisive, searching, varied set of poems. It looks back upon his life, and forward to his impending death. Looking back movingly in “Love in a Warm Climate,” he rues, “No man Friday, and he was certainly no Crusoe: / He could not rub a fire, fish or hunt – No gun, no animals: / He had lived his life on populated lands, and let the tides come and go.” Later he reflects, with humility, “But I have felt the rain upon my face, / And will not mind the solitary place / If I have told, like Dickinson, the truth but told it slant.” These poems reveal more about him than dozens of interviews. Following “Closing Time” are several essays in tribute written by some whose lives he touched as a writer and friend. Critiquing his work, Shelby Stephenson writes, “he salves disparate matter into whole fabrics of motions.”
Also, there’s much other poetry, prose, and several savvy author interviews. There’s well-crafted poems like Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson’s, who indelibly penned in “Down Home Ecstasy,” “Listen to the Blues / Visualize / Charcoal black, sweet, sweat sinews / Broad, powerful.” DeLana Dameron, in “Chalice, describes delicately a damsel in distress: “Catch me, I’ve fallen into the crease / Of the chipped cup that was never whole – / Gather me when I am pieces.” After viewing that, and taking in “Bop: To conjure one home” – about a grandmother’s final days, you feel like you have met her and been a guest in her house.
The short fiction in this issue also shines. Read it all when you want to get involved.