An incendiary literary work more relevant now than ever.
“if anger were an ax/it would split me open/and if this is a sermon/let it be my granddaddy’s sermon/my grandmother’s foottapping/steady rocking/choir singing” —from “This Is Not a New Age”
First published in 1998, Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery is the debut collection by acclaimed poet and performer Pamela Sneed. Provocative and potent, it tackles the political and personal issues of enslavement, sexuality, emotional trauma, and abuse. These poems chart the journey of an artist trying to escape cycles of dependency and reclaim lost self and identity. Drawing parallels to Harriet Tubman’s journey on the Underground Railroad, Sneed’s explorations of the woods are a metaphor and emotional path one must explore to attain self-ownership. Sneed’s poems are bound by the search for love, freedom, and justice—from images of lesbian love to Emmet Till’s bloated body, they offer a raging cry and a roadmap for those interested in transforming the personal into social justice and abolitionist practices.