Wendy S. Walters

  • Color Coded

    Racial identity and aesthetics may not spell fun to most, and poems about those topics even less so. But a strong sense of play infuses Thomas Sayers Ellis’s Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems. This is a poet who can use the same word eight times in a single stanza without sounding redundant: “coloring color the color / I want to color color, not the color / color colors me.”

    These themes do come bearing history—particularly the legacy of the Black Arts Movement. In 1971, in the introduction to the anthology The Black Aesthetic, literary critic Addison Gayle made a case against integrating