For a young Ghanaian girl who traveled from the hot winds of Accra to the pulsating rhythms of the Bronx, belonging is elusive. Torn between her desires to be West African and American at the same time, she negotiates linguistic and cultural barriers that force her to reinvent herself. Set in spaces that often drown out the songs of Black women, Black Ballad offers us poems of compassion toward womanhood, toward rediscovery in the exhaustion of migration. Afua Ansong sounds the chant of joy into existence.
“These rocking arms. This big heart. This anger that is so tender. In Black Ballad, her tremendous, new collection of poems, Afua Ansong is only one woman, but somehow, she is a chorus of many. A poet of ‘grace and lavender,’ with a glorious, essential lyric. If there is a woman who could stand in two lands, who could sing us into healing with her words, it is Afua Ansong. With her kin and litany. With her truth, which is so needed in these times. With her wisdom. With her love. With her witness.”
—Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, author of The Age of Phillis
“In Afua Ansong’s Black Ballad there is a grace at the tip of every line that carries the reader into a world where care and intuition are ever present. What you hold in your hands are a series of poems intent on re-centering the gravitational pull of Black women, an organizing principle for how we understand our relationship to earth and tide, life and death, to one another and ourselves. “
—Matthew Shenoda, author of Tahrir Suite