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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Atonement: Rise Up and Ascension Poetry by Nubia The Doorway is an anthology of the poet's original work. The formatting of the collection is as free-flowing as the work itself, as Nubia provides unrestricted space for all sixty-eight of the poems, photography, and illustrations that are placed with intent in a front-to-back/back-to-front arrangement. The poems are equal parts powerful and introspective, but as I actually write that, I can see separating the two undermines Nubia's work. Introspect and power are not mutually exclusive; neither is any individual poem within. The pieces range in tone and tenor from The Power of 'Re', in which the root of a compound word is expanded on to magnify disparity, pain, and healing, to She Is My Melody, an ode to life-giving, nurturing, inspiring, reinforcing, and all-encompassing power—femininity in all its profound glory.
I initially picked up Atonement out of complete curiosity. A poet with the name Nubia The Doorway, and myself, a reader who spent months in Egypt tracing the path from Berlin to Aswan in order to pay my respects to the famed Temple of Kalabshe, in Nubia, after seeing its doorway at the Pergamon. So to rationalize kismet as anything other than that is just ludicrous. Of course, none of this would matter if the work wasn't so raw and piercing, and my goodness is it ever. Nubia encourages reading each poem out loud and can attest to the dynamism that is unleashed by following this instruction. My favorite poem is Progress Flows in which they write, “Turning valves, Releasing steam, The flood gates open and, Revolution pours forth from the seams...” This is a fantastic compilation crafted by an artist of the highest caliber, and one would be robbing themselves of a truly emotive experience in passing Atonement up.