Improvise in the Amen Corner by Larnell Custis Butler – Review & Giveaway
I strive to share unique books with you and this time there’s no doubt I’m about to succeed. Improvise in the Amen Corner is a book of poetry and art unlike any you’ve ever seen. Larnell Custis Butler writes her prose about the African American community in her church, her town, her family. Each poem tells about one fascinating character coupled with a portrait drawn by the author. The portraits are unique in that they have been drawn using sticks and twigs which the author collects from the park across the street from her Virginia home. She sharpens each stick and dips them in India ink, creating shadows with wet paper towel. Don’t let the process fool you–these are works with plenty of artistic merit, and the media she uses lends just the right effect to her poetry. I’d happily hang one on my wall. Even the font is creative, based on Larnell Custis Butler’s own handwriting, giving you the sense you’re reading her own personal notebooks.
The people in Larnell’s life are not wealthy; they struggle to make ends meet, and some of them do that with grace while others take the wrong path, only adding pain to their already difficult lives. This is not to say the poetry is depressing, not by any means. Throughout the book, readers will gain a feeling of hope and community. One gets an intimate and unique glimpse into Larnell Custis Butler’s world. As for me, I’d love to sit myself down in The Amen Corner and get to know the people better.
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