come see about me, marvin
poems by brian g. gilmoreAward Winner
Poetry, African American Studies
Pages: 104 Size: 6x9
come see about me, marvin is accessible, honest poetry about and for real people. In the collection, brian g. gilmore seeks to invite the reader into a fantastical dialogue between himself and Marvin Gaye—two black men who were born in the nation’s capital, but who moved to the Midwest for professional ambitions. In trying to acclimate himself to a new job in a new place—a place that seemed so different from the home he had always known—gilmore often looked to Marvin Gaye as an example for how to be. These poems were derived as a means of coping in a strange land.
The book is divided into four sections, beginning with section one, "love that will shelter you," and features poems about dealing with life in Michigan as it is in reality. Sections two and three, "nowhere to hide" and "no ordinary pain," include poems about the brutality of the Midwest and some of the historical realities as gilmore came to understand them. The final section, "let your love come shining through," attempts to invoke hope in poetry.
come see about me, marvin is gilmore’s answer to life’s perplexing issues, with Marvin Gaye as the perfect vehicle to explore these ideals. Readers of poetry and lovers of Motown will embrace this love letter to a local legend.
In come see about me, marvin, brian g. gilmore captures everyday wonders like the loneliness interrupted by his mother who arrives to the still-cold Michigan May chill that "crawled up her / spine like snakes scarfing / food." In this collection, Gilmore reveals a people who moved—moved by music, moved by flavors and food, moved by wintery weather, moved from the South, moved through evictions, moved by words written by Paul Laurence Dunbar and read by the speaker and his best friend Ronnie Beavers when they are too young to understand what the words mean. In fact, as Gilmore writes in another poem, "something about men darker than/chunks of coal kicking around a soccer ball w/ not / a care in the world in one of the coldest places is / reassuring". His poems are gray watercolor brushwork of Michigan—this bird in hand. He is a migrant bumping into memory. This poetry draws water from dark soil.
– V Efua Prince, author of Burnin’ Down the House and Daughter’s Exchange
gilmore’s come see about me, marvin balances the difficult quest through memory and the past through the window of the present. In his characteristic deceptively simple style, gilmore solos and riffs his way through the present and past looking into the heart of one America’s most tragic cities. come see about me, marvin lies somewhere between the taste of food, the gust of wind that comes from good music, and the unpredictable journey through our current difficult times. Readers will see into the heart of music, the heart of the author, and the heart of the Midwest.
– Bro. Yao (Hoke S. Glover III), author of Inheritance
In come see about me, marvin, poet gilmore’s literary toolbox is on full display, offering a poetic soundtrack rooted in the African American vernacular tradition, paying homage to the many black writers that help shape the current landscape of contemporary poetry. Through the backdrop of Michigan’s ‘cold winter streets’ and the beautifully written ‘distant lover’ series, influenced by Motown legend Marvin Gaye, the reader is escorted on a journey, exploring the social, political, and economic state of this country while pondering the epiphanous question asked by Gaye in 1971, as in: what’s going on? Gilmore is very aware of the literary shoulders he stands on. Be prepared to be dazzled by a poet in full bloom.
– Randall Horton, poet and memoirist
He sizzles with energy. He pops with meaning. There’s a lot of Michigan in this book, but much, much more. Start with the poem to "Lover" and you’ll see the heart. Keep on to see the politics, the love of a culture honored; don’t stop until you find the fight for justice, the call for peace. And by the end, you’ll know a man worth knowing, smart and sweet, a poet you’ll love.
– Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books
An impressive compendium of deftly crafted verse that is as memorably thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is reader engaging and inherently interesting, "come see about me, marvin" will prove to be an enduringly appreciated and valued addition to community and academic library Contemporary American Poetry collections.
– Midwest Book Review
2020 Michigan Notable Book Awards - Result: 1 of 20 selected annually