Book Review: Burial Ground

Book Cover Images image of Burial Ground

by Glenda R. Taylor

    Publication Date: Jan 01, 2020
    List Price: $14.95
    Format: Paperback, 104 pages
    Classification: Poetry
    ISBN13: 9780999830949
    Imprint: Sojourner Truth Press
    Publisher: Sojourner Truth Press
    Parent Company: Sojourner Truth Press

    Book Reviewed by Eryka Parker

    I recently spent time diving into the pages of Burial Ground, a collection of poetry by Glenda R. Taylor. The ethereal cover and enticing description sucked me right in, and I went into this reading experience with high expectations. I was not disappointed.

    Taylor provides colorful nuances of the Black experience with short and long poems that weave in Black American history, complicated emotions, and key elements of African American culture.

    Based on my interpretation of her poetry, Taylor uses themes of self-accountability and unity, and she shares multiple heartfelt tributes to prominent figures in Black history, as well as some of the family members who have positively impacted her. This includes a touching personal letter to the author’s grandmother that demonstrates Taylor’s admiration and respect for her grandmother’s preservation of the personal stories she passed on to her descendants.

    “Fire in My Soul” is a powerful narrative set during the Civil Rights era, that captures unwavering passion for justice and intrinsic drive. Rebirth and the renewal of vision and mission are celebrated, emphasizing the wisdom Taylor has gained through her life’s experiences. She also delves into the media’s overwhelming influence on society’s thinking and way of life, highlighting unhealthy dependencies and the emptiness that can result from it. I especially appreciated how toxic behavior and boundary setting were addressed. Taylor portrayed the bravery required to identify manipulative behavior and leave harmful situations for the sake of self-protection and self-advocacy.

    In her poem “I Never Cried,” Taylor navigates the pain of loss through a devastating journey of grief. She shares her internal struggle and her challenges with avoidance. A personal favorite is “Don’t Send Me Flowers,” which delivers a powerful message about the value of time and connection within families. Taylor urges readers to slow down, be present, and give loved ones their “flowers” while there is still time. It’s an eloquent reminder that love, togetherness, and connection are finite and valuable. We all need to hear this.

    Taylor invites the reader into a contemplative exploration of life, death, consciousness, and the yearning for completeness. Her abstract and evocative language inspires reflection on how so many elements connect in the cycle of life. I was reminded of how important it is to seek understanding and connection with my family members on a deeper level. Time waits for no man and it disappears so quickly. It’s critical to prioritize meaningful conversations with family and to truly get to know your family. This looks like breaking down barriers in the form of navigating your differences, seeking middle ground, and finding ways to lend a helping hand, even if it’s a little inconvenient.

    The unique perspective in “I Am Not a Racist” touched on the denial and deflection of people who are annoyingly evasive when it comes to racial issues. You know, the ones who pretend that none exist? This poem subtly calls them out for the defensive, toxic, and avoidant attitudes they take on during discussions on social justice and racial equity. I found it to be relatable and on-point because we’ve heard many of these careless statements made either directly or indirectly. It can be frustrating, but building awareness about these attitudes is the first step to addressing the issues and educating others.

    Burial Ground is a literary safe space for consuming, acknowledging, and celebrating Black American history, culture, and experiences. Taylor captures the multifaceted and complicated aspects of life, from historical struggles to personal relationships, and keeps you engaged and feeling seen and heard. Through her insightful poetry, Glenda R. Taylor invites you to explore what defines the human experience: the beauty, the diversity, the challenges, the defeat, and most importantly, the triumphs.

    Read Sojourner Truth Press’s description of Burial Ground.

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