Chioma Urama’s A Body of Water is a beautiful and lyrical poetic examining of ancestry in the southern United States. The poems were born out of a conversation Urama opened with her ancestors. Their documented and oral histories have been fragmented by a history of enslavement. Urama takes a deep dive into how generational trauma collapses linear time and suggests that past traumas present themselves within the consciousness of a person’s body until that person transforms the energy surrounding them.
The work ebbs and flows between poems that use erasure and white space to tackle subjects and stirring lyric essays make use of voices from media like historic documents, music and film. This collection marries vulnerabilities and politics, and explores themes like love, grief, loss and connectivity. A Body of Water is an act of reminiscing, engaging with the idea that “all water has a perfect memory” and nothing is ever truly lost.