“Poetry. LGBT Studies. The first title from Sapphic Classics, a co-edition between Sinister Wisdom Magazine and A Midsummer Night’s Press to reprint seminal works of lesbian poetry. “In spare and forceful language Minnie Bruce Pratt tells a moving story of loss and recuperation, discovering linkages between her own disenfranchisement and the condition of other minorities. She makes it plain, in this masterful sequence of poems, that the real crime against nature is violence and oppression.–From the Judges’ Statement, Lamont Poetry Prize 1989, CRIME AGAINST NATURE”
This is not the first book of poetry I have read of Pratt’s, but I liked this one much more than the other I read. I am not really a poetry fan so I did not like the formatting choices or the poetry portion of this book, instead I really enjoyed reading Pratt’s story. The poems focused on her feelings around losing custody of her two children when she came out as a lesbian. This was a terrible time in her life, but she handles it and seems to be getting through.
While I did not like how meta this was at times (mentioning how her sons were reading the poems made me feel like she was detached from it and not putting her heart into the work anymore), I did enjoy seeing how her and her sons progressed. The more Pratt mentioned that she showed off her poems or that she wrote poems to deal the less attached I got. It felt like she was trying to hammer home the point that she was not hiding, but the fact that she came out and stayed out is enough to show that she not hiding anymore.
While this book of poetry was more powerful than some of her others, it does not compare with her prose. I only started reading her because of her long term partner Leslie Feinberg. As a stand-alone piece this one left me feeling like I knew very intimately a small portion of the poet’s life. I was very pleased and surprised by the level of intimacy that Pratt gives us through these poems.
It was a quick and easy read. Pratt is usually an easy read as she writes very accessibly and emotionally. While it was not my favorite book, I would probably read it again (probably due to not remembering having read it as I easily forget poetry I have read).
3 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book, if I remember it.
You can buy this book here.