Released in July 2021, Pennsylvania

Stunned by resemblance,
splash of freckles unites us:

kindred connection.


A Jazz Artist Sings Her History through Poetry

“Skin Folk,” poetry by jazz artist and former professor at Concordia University, Canada, Jeri Brown, is a collection fueled by the past.  It is meant as a prism by which to read what comes before. The poems weave together to form an ethnographical and lyrical tapestry in essay, photo, poem and photograph form.

“Skin Folk” is an ode to character, to archetype, specifically, to women, to the working-class, to strength as well as to vulnerability. Brown opens with the poem, “warrior” and the line, “What do disabled warriors do?”  There is pride here for those who have come first to lay down roots. Here, and elsewhere, enjambment works as a political act, a subtle and significant class awareness that colors the entirety of the book.

It is this overlay that is the triumph of the book, Brown’s squarely placing her speaker in the position of context, of inheritance, of the tradition of migrations (we travel from the American South to Norway and finally to Quebec).

In “Skin Folk,” though, Brown and her speaker understand and embrace the present of understanding by traveling, figuratively and literally, over various physical, musical and ancestral landscapes. There is a sacredness in this that energizes and ignites. “Skin Folk” goes within the skin, to deferentially pursue the convergence of place and person, the complexity of self by what has led to self.—Vanessa Jimenez Gabb, author of Images for Radical Politics.