Review: Every Watering Word by Tanya Manning-Yarde

every watering word

Pub. Date: September 27th 2017   I Page Count: 126 p. I  Imprint: Wasteland Press  I CW: Rape, abuse, violence



“This collection of poetry is an ensemble of many themes. Every Watering Word encompasses poetic rumination about women’s self-discovery; stories about coming of age; explorations of sex, sensuality and eroticism; epiphanies gleaned from motherhood and marriage; the structure and impact of racial and gender oppression; the trials, tribulations and triumphs experienced by love; the inheritance of jazz music and honoring the Black Christian tradition while exploring underlying tensions.” (GR)


How cool is that title? Also, the cover! I may now feel validated in being a cover snob. I have to say this year has been a great one for poetry for me. I’ve gotten into the habit of reading one poem for breakfast or lunch every day. It may be slow going, but this way I get to savor each one instead of rushing to complete a collection. Do you enjoy poetry?

Every Watering Word by Tanya Manning-Yarde is a wonderful collection about the challenges and joys of existing in this world as a Black woman. The collection is divided into the following sections: Women Warriors, Building Bridges Backwards, Watering Word: The Been, The Because, The Becoming, Hymns Living Inside Hems, Mimicking Twilight, Across Broken Mirrors, and Improvisation.

Manning-Yarde covers a whole lot of topics in this collection: racism against African-Americans and violence against Black women, but also women’s self-discovery, sexual awakening, motherhood and the role of Christianity in the Black community. I really enjoyed the style, the writing was evocative and even sensual at times, and then sharp and to the point at others. It’s also stylistically rich and there are several poems that would make for excellent discussion in class in uni or high-school.

Here are excerpts of two of my favorite poems:

From: “The Dreams of Brown Mothers”

The dreams of brown mothers

murmur and hunt

for the void of dark blue/the


pocket/where their male kin and children

are snatched captive/to rehearse


breaking of bones and bloom

to fit

unnatural untimely graves/

earth unearthed too early/too soon.


From: “News at 4,5,6:30 and 11”

Nightly, local and national news makes its pilgrimage

into our living rooms, perforating hearts into swiss cheese so the truth always

falls out.

Geography different.

Baltimore. Chicago. Detroit. Los Angeles. New York.

But the usual story.

Black assailant…male…seen fleeing…

no need to finish the sentence.

Manning-Yarde has written a wonderful Black feminist poetry collection. She covers her chosen topics with depth and complexity, highlighting racist and sexist violence but also celebrating the joys of being a Black woman. I recommend this one to poetry lovers and those who want to be. This one gets very explicit in uncovering violent oppression, so make sure to heed the content warnings above!


Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review.


Other thoughts:

In Tori Lex

Life of a Female Bibliophile

One thought on “Review: Every Watering Word by Tanya Manning-Yarde

Add yours

  1. I’ve been on a poetry kick lately (kind of unusual for me) and this collection sounds wonderful. I’m with you on that amazing cover!!


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