2016 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry, Finalist. JP Howard's debut collection, SAY/MIRROR, is a dialogue of history and memory, reflecting on and integrating vintage photographs of her mother, Ruth King (a fairly well known African American runway model in Harlem during the 1940's and 1950's) with snapshots from the poet's own childhood. This manuscript began to emerge when Howard gained access to a large collection of her mother's modeling photos, as well as some local Harlem magazine and newspaper clippings, and was thereby offered a window into her heyday, begging comparison to and recollection of a complex motherhood away from the spotlight. Here is a project that seeks to use poetry as both memoir and biography, alongside the evocative nostalgia of vintage image a map from which Howard has pieced together the bright but uneven path of growing up in the shadow of a "model" mother. The atlas of SAY/MIRROR charts the islands of the poet and her mother's overlapping lives unearthing the shared experiences of a single parent and only child, coming to terms with each other in the 1970's and 80's: a socio-historical-emotional retelling of the life of a diva through a daughter's eyes, with both parent and child learning to navigate the rocky terrain therein.
"JP Howard's collection of poems is a raw reminder of the experience of motherhood and daughterhood. Her sharp memories of love and neglect; elegance, admiration and inadequacy leave a salty/sweet taste not soon forgotten." Jewelle Gomez
"Juliet P. Howard's porcelain collection of daughter memoirs is enough to break into you like fine China the shadow of her legacy hovering just above diva, the tenderness of grief stained just below doll." Anastacia Tolbert
"Praise Juliet Howard for the wonderful ability to bring to life a mother whose beauty, seduction and danger challenge the notions of a young girl growing up in her shadow. SAY/MIRROR manages to capture with sharp detail and lively resonant language the elegance and ambivalence of the poet's mother and her world. These poems evoke images of passion and loss, pain and joy. We must all stand up and applaud the poem 'pushing her way to the surface... her shape on the page as she unfolds.'" Pamela L. Laskin
"JP Howard stands out both for her fine poetry and for her passionate, unrelenting involvement with and on behalf of lesbians of color, all lesbians, and the LGBTQ literary community. She reverently celebrates our forebears. A poet, a teacher, and a curator, Ms. Howard has shown an ongoing commitment to nurturing our writers and to writing and publishing from her heart." Lambda Literary Award judges Reginald Harris and Lee Lynch"
to mourn, to protest, to wish for peace and to fight for justice - an OS [re: con]versation with JP Howard
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