Mahogany L. Browne’s evocative book-length poem explores the impacts of the prison system on both the incarcerated and the loved ones left behind.
I Remember Death by Its Proximity to What I Love is an expansive poetic meditation on who we think is bound by incarceration. The answer: all of us. Weaving personal narrative, case studies, and inventive form, Browne invokes the grief, pain, and resilience in the violent wake of the prison system. This poem is dirge work but allows us to revel in the intricacies of our human condition. Written by a beloved and prolific writer, organizer, and educator, this work serves as a practice of self-reflection and accountability. Browne steps into the lineage of Sonia Sanchez’s Does Your House Have Lions? with the precision of a master wordsmith and the empathy of an attentive storyteller.
“I have never read a book quite like, I Remember Death By Its Proximity to What I Love, which explores a daughter’s longing for her father who is often a persistent and haunting spirit. There are endless pathways to read this searingly intelligent collection, full of magical footnotes, journalistic asides, and love notes to readers as it measures abiding love against societal threat, as it weighs personal loss against national gain. I praise Mahogany L. Browne who is a fire starter, a conjurer of essential prayer, and torchbearer who lights the way to justice. Her words are flame, igniting love and its essential truth. This book is an act of supreme invention that wills itself to survive through powerful insistence.” — Tina Chang, Brooklyn Poet Laureate, author of Hybrida