Afro-American Me
by Sherryl L. McCorkle
Author Reputation Press

"Here I am. I’ve proven that I can!
My journey and purpose for God’s Kingdom isn’t over yet
As long as the Master blows breath in me
Here I am

McCorkle's collection of poems and essays resonates deeply personal truths about African American women, motherhood, and negative influences that lead to violence for inner-city youth. Her experience in earning a higher education degree in mental health brought back painful reflections of unforgotten memories and familial history, and this book illustrates her efforts to reconcile with them through the power of writing.

The thread linking her pieces is a prevailing theme of identity. McCorkle's self-assured individuality is inspiring, reinforced by the thoughtful introspection that surfaces through her words. But there is also an honest vulnerability in the author's expression of what she has endured and achieved in spite of it. The poem "Striptease" explores the duality of a mother performing beguiling fantasies while earning a living to care for her children. In "Here I Am," McCorkle reaffirms her identity and strength to overcome obstacles.

Similarly, the essay "Swagger" proclaims her unique style and flair as an individual who is "blessed and proud to be an African American woman." "My Unforgivable Childhood Memory" is an essay recalling the years-long trauma from age seven when McCorkle went to live with her father after her mother gave up custody. She acknowledges the eloquence of forgiveness that ultimately frees her. "Summer Morning" is a poetic breath of fresh air, where McCorkle enjoys a truly peaceful moment with coffee on her porch amid nature's beauty. And finally, "Dayton" is a nod to McCorkle's home and what makes that Ohio metropolitan area so distinctive.

Candid grayscale photographs of McCorkle and her family pepper the narrative, adding an intimate touch that connects the reader to the author's text. McCorkle's confidence certainly extends from the page to the audience, empowering readers to accept their own identity and live life to the fullest regardless of the odds.

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