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Voyage of the Sable Venus is a tour de force that uses art, desire, and expectation as lenses through which to examine the tragic legacy of racism. Built around a 79-page title poem, made entirely out of descriptions of Western art depicting the Black female form, Lewis’s first poetry collection pulls no punches and lets no one off the hook. The verse here is lyric, and it is beautiful. But it is also ruthless in what it exposes. What gives the collection its vivid power is context, the sense that history moves through, and mediates, every image, every poem.
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