5/13/2013 9:16 PM
Shange stands alone on the spectrum of poet as playwright. She combines poetry, dance, and performance art and she fashions a liner plot. Shange's work here is highly provocative. Her poetic license is up-to-date and active.
For the open-minded exists a sublime piece of poetic verse, musical and cacophonous, filled with unbridled emotion. Is unbridled emotion something admirable in art? Of course it is. This isn't an archetypical image of black women, and it definitely isn't a ethical manifesto. It is, so far as I understand, a highly passionate expression of the joys and pains of being a black woman in a time of racism and patriarchy; to be diminished, unreasonably, to the lowest ranks of society. To be in constant fear of abuse, all the while being unable to express that fear and callousness at the risk of appearing resentful and bitter.
Shange does not come across as resentful or bitter, but instead an honest voice in a world of social turmoil and discordance. Her piece is highly chaotic and yet organized, like the frantic unity of a free jazz composition. Shange does her best to find the overlapping points of the human experience, resulting in a highly poignant yet commonly overlooked work. She does not ask her readers to agree, she just asks them to FEEL.