Lilac Bush

A Poetic Journey and Cultural Awakening for Future Generations

Poetry - Inspirational
208 Pages
Reviewed on 11/25/2021
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Author Biography

Pamela C. Nwokeji is an African American author and poet. She grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. She studied at Salem State University and the University of Massachusetts to pursue a career in Information Technology. She is married with four children. She loves to cook. She loves poetry and art.
(PamelaCNwokeji.com)

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Lilac Bush: A Poetic Journey and Cultural Awakening for Future Generations, by Pamela C. Nwokeji, is a powerful and beautiful work that is socially relevant and culturally impactful. Using lilacs as the theme to guide the poetic nature of the book, you will experience hard times, confusion, and pain, but also hope and inner power--right along with the poet. Enlightenment and change can't happen without growth and challenge, but the resulting transformation is worth it. These poems can help light the way toward healing and meaningful changes.

Nwokeji brings an intimate feel to the poetry from deep emotion and firsthand experience. She knows all too well what it means to live in the world of Black America. Writers like this bring insight and clarification to social injustices that are happening now but can also serve as clarion calls to future generations. I like how the poems actually offer concrete solutions, like education, family, and faith in God. Sometimes the language is strong and the material is uncomfortable, but the points do get across. The honesty in this work is appreciated, and so is the beauty. This writer seems to have a gift for poetry, phrasing, and conveying thoughts we have but can't always express. Readers who have dealt with abuse, self-harm, mental health diagnoses, and racism will connect with this volume.

I love the themes of community, improvement, advocacy, and healing that this book conveys, and think the messages come from a place of true yearning on the author's part. One of my favorite poems is "Grandma's Art Dresser", with which I connected strongly. Some poems are more personal; some more social--but all make an impression. Colorful images also help convey the book's ideas, and the resource links at the end are nice. If you like poetry that could possibly change the world, you will love Lilac Bush: A Poetic Journey and Cultural Awakening for Future Generations, by Pamela C. Nwokeji.

K.C. Finn

Lilac Bush: A Poetic Journey and Cultural Awakening for Future Generations is a collection of poetry written by Pamela C. Nwokeji. It is aimed at the adult reading audience due to mature content. The book collects together a series of poems in which the poet meditates on their experiences growing up in America as a person of color. By discussing the issues of the past, the work aims to address the need for change in the present, and the potential future that we could experience if we face those changes head-on.

If they wish to have any meaningful impact on a reader, poetry collections require a careful curation both in what is included and the order in which the poems are presented. A seamless journey from one concept to another that almost feels like it’s moving with the reader’s emotions instead of vice versa, Lilac Bush is a stunning journey of exploration and meditation around issues that could not be more pertinent in today’s climate. Whilst there are several poems in this collection that stood out when reading, I refuse to single any out here as the tapestry formed by each of these individual threads is artistry in itself. I encourage readers to eschew the standard ‘dip in and out’ with which we’re accustomed to enjoying poetry and permit Pamela C. Nwokeji to take you on a complete journey of her experiences and painfully honest reflections. The result will be an experience that is difficult to put down, and an overarching message which is impossible to ignore.

Pikasho Deka

Lilac Bush by Pamela C. Nwokeji is a poetry collection that brings the plight of the African American community to the forefront. Through her poetic verses, author Pamela C. Nwokeji pens an authentic narrative that examines some of the biggest issues faced by people of the African American diaspora. "A Secret" provides a glimpse through a victim's eyes as they recollect their experiences with a predator. "New African American" examines the outlook of the current generation of African Americans who never had to face the adversity, inequality, and hardships suffered by their ancestors. "Talking to the Corrupt Blue" is a critical assessment of the law enforcement agencies that play a major role in the systematic oppression of minorities in America. "Equal Song" emphasizes the need for an equal power dynamic for a healthy relationship.

An insightful look at the troubles faced by people belonging to the African American community, Lilac Bush is an enlightening read all the way through. Through some beautifully penned poetic verses, Pamela C. Nwokeji explores serious issues that plague not only the African American community but society as a whole. Topics like child abuse, parental neglect, self-degradation, misogyny, racial profiling, and much more are deftly handled and make up the subject matter of the poems. Every single poem feels meticulously crafted and brings something unique to the narrative. Although I enjoyed them all, "Talking to the Corrupt Blue" and Equal Song" were my personal favorites. Anyone who loves poetry with a dash of social commentary should grab a copy of Lilac Bush.

Astrid Iustulin

Unfortunately, African Americans still do not have an easy life today. Often, they come from families where one of the parents is absent or find themselves living in a disorderly way both as children and adults. Lilac Bush: A Poetic Journey and Cultural Awakening for Future Generations by Pamela C. Nwokeji is a poetry collection that intends to raise awareness on these issues and give hope for a better future. The poems deal with themes such as abuse, police brutality toward African American people, and fatherlessness, a frequent condition in African American families that Nwokeji has experienced firsthand.

Inviting people to become aware of the situation of African Americans has become of primary importance, so any book that helps to stir consciences should have the prominence it deserves. In this regard, Lilac Bush deserves a special mention. Nwokeji talks about delicate and complex subjects with frankness, and her way of writing is always inspired and elegant. However, Lilac Bush not only aims at highlighting the problems and injustices that African Americans face in their lives. It also offers encouragement, and I believe this is the most valuable part of its message. Readers will not fail to note that Nwokeji does not limit herself to criticizing a system; she wants to make people aware that what happened to previous generations must not be repeated. Only in this way the next generations will live better lives. Lilac Bush is a source of inspiration, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to help create a better society.

Vincent Dublado

Pamela C. Nwokeji could have written a memoir or a biography about her father. Instead, she chooses to chronicle her story and paternal relationship in a collection of poems that is compelling in its voice as it is intended as a call to action. In a way, Lilac Bush: A Poetic Journey and Cultural Awakening for Future Generations similarly serves as personal therapy for the author. She writes the story of her father with such an uncommon perspective about African-American fathers that you don’t often read. In the lines of every poem in this collection, you get a vivid sense of how personal expression liberates the author from the stigma of fatherlessness and her sincere intent to provide encouragement and inspiration to the next generation by sharing her story through verse.

As an African-American poet, Pamela C. Nwokeji delivers a collection that is arguably a strong and profound message to everyone who reads Lilac Bush. When she writes about being alone for so many years and about the frustration of being lied to in the poem Free, the power of the moment surges through your mind with grace. It ends with the reassurance that the experience in some way has set her free. It’s an inspiring piece of work that I am willing to bet will have a great impact on anyone who has ever experienced the pain of abandonment. Nwokeji is a beautiful example of fortitude, a living figure who breaks the shackles of perceived norms to unveil persisting realities. Her poetry tells certain truths and reading it will make you have a better understanding of your own vulnerabilities.