One glance at recent headlines and the raw wounds and searing fissures of continuing racial tension are immediately apparent. A remedy: Apply the balm of soothing words about a loving relationship. That’s Jane Ellen Ibur’s prescription in her newly released poetry and prose collection, Both Wings Flappin’, Still Not Flyin’, from PenUltimate Press.
The continuous thread of this collection is the development of a deep and lasting maternal/child bond, formed between a young white girl and an older black woman who was in the employ of the girl’s family. As the story is brought forward, the characters’ roles reverse and the girl—now a young woman—becomes the caretaker in a relationship that bridges race and class.
“Jane Ellen Ibur’s poems are a genuine labor of love, a tribute to the woman who cared for her in her youth and became substitute mother, mentor, teacher, and companion. In return, Jane offered her own loving care for the last eleven years of her friend’s life, when she was sick and helpless. The poems are heartfelt and moving, and memorialize a rare and selfless relationship that transcended age, race, and social class.”
—Lynn Sharon Schwartz, The Writing on the Wall
“In this evocative narrative of kinship blooming over the borders of a divided city, Ibur performs painful, beautiful, necessary work.” —Jabari Asim, A Taste of Honey