Reviewed by Leslie Haídez De Jesús
TAGS: Lauren K. Alleyne, Peepal Tree Press, Trinidad and Tobago, sexual assault, social injustice
Congratulations, Trinidad and Tobago; one island, two countries! Your latest literary daughter, Lauren K. Alleyne is representing you well in her poetry collection, Difficult Fruit. A very ethical writer, she not only is brave enough to share personal poetry but also provides notes on supplemental reading for a few of her works, in an effort to identify their inspiration as well as give credit to her fellow writers for their works referenced in her book. This alone speaks volumes to her character. but it gives assurance that Difficult Fruit will not be difficult to read. If you're seeking a personal poetry experience, Ms. Alleyne can provide this and more in her book. It's like sitting at home with an old friend, reminiscing on life.
The author touches on a variety of subjects, among them sexual assault. Survivors of sexual violence will appreciate the poem "Eighteen"; Alleyne also encourages readers to experience The Rape Poems, by rape survivor Frances Driscoll. Indeed, Alleyne’s inclusive approach to her writing makes this book all the more interesting to read. She eloquently writes about social injustice in pieces like "John White Defends" and "The Hoodie Stands Witness". By the titles, one would anticipate "angry writing" but instead, the author paints a picture of the victims and how they see one another. In "John White Defends, an African American was convicted for shooting a young white teenager who came to Mr. White's home, intoxicated and carrying a baseball bat, to attack Mr. White’s son at two o'clock in the morning for an alleged social media rumor. As they size each other up it's clear that this is something that could've been handled better but the altercation did not result in a loss for all involved. "The Hoodie Stands Witness" speaks to Alleyne’s imagination as she gives accounts of the last living moments of the late Trayvon Martin's young life, told from the viewpoint of the hooded sweatshirt he wore. While intertwining the thoughts and feelings of those who knew and loved Trayvon, she elegantly expresses his untimely death and how much he's missed.
Readers will enjoy this body of work because of its unconventional approach and Alleyne’s personal touch is just enough for readers to understand that she's writing from the heart. Take the plunge and enjoy a piece of Difficult Fruit.
Leslie Haídez De Jesus is from the Bronx. Her poetic style stems from her personal experiences. She doesn't like to refer to herself as an artist because her writing style works more like a random moment. "I can only write, when I feel it," she says. Look for her first poetry book, PhatGyrlzRule-Image iz Everything, which should be due this year. For more information, firstname.lastname@example.org.