The Ancient Romans used to call a person's creative spirit her "genius," and recognized the labor of setting it free as one of love and sacrifice. Octavia McBride-Ahebee's latest collection is just such a labor. Her poems depict human longing, love and dignity in the context of global inequality with fierce, uncompromising grace. As her characters speak, she creates indelible sensory images of loveliness and affection, profound misery and anger, letting each co-exist on the page. The resulting complexity of tone makes space for nuanced and compelling human voices that might otherwise be categorized as "victims" or "villains" of oppression. It takes the full use of genius to notice and capture these contradictions, and a deep social conscience to care so passionately about writing them down. This collection is one of McBride-Ahebee's "bighearted magnolia trees," its trunk scarred by the fire of sacrifice, its blossoms and branches so beautiful you don't want to leave their shade. - Lillian Dunn, Editor of Apiary Literary Journal
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