Local poet sheds light on Black experience and Black history through book of poems

NOW: Local poet sheds light on Black experience and Black history through book of poems

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--A South Bend man celebrates his faith, family and his blackness, with a book of poems highlighting the Black experience.

“A Black woman is a being a part. A Black woman the queen of hearts. Her sweet nature life-giving,” reads Jenario Morgan’s poem, Black Queens.

Like many of us during the pandemic, Morgan picked up a hobby during the pandemic lockdown. That hobby evolved into a book of 25 poems.

He works at Riley High School in South Bend as a paraprofessional and started writing the collection when the district shut down in 2020.

Morgan says that he was inspired by a driving force in his life: his Catholic faith.

“We were out on COVID for school, and I prayed a lot. Revelations came to me: write about your family, write about everything, write about black nouns-- people places and things, said Morgan.

His book, Black Nouns, features influential figures, from family members to Black people in history, people that allow him to look through their perspective. He wrote about the triumphs of Stevie Wonder, the struggles and accomplishments of Vice President Kamala Harris and the self-determination of Kobe Bryant.

“Stevie Wonder, a folk hero what a folk hero! He really evolves that feeling of Black struggle and triumphs with his own personal handicaps, he’s overcome that,” said Morgan.

He also features historically Black places, like his hometown of Detroit and its resilience, but Morgan also sees the entire nation as a Black place given the overall struggle and triumphs throughout Black history.

“America to me, is a Black place even though it’s multicultural and is home to everyone, it is a special place because we are a special people,” said Morgan.

While inspired by history and family, readers can see his faith throughout the book. The cover exemplifies that, it’s an image of the Black Jesus at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. It’s a reflection of Morgan’s Blackness within the Catholic church. Morgan explained the historical context of the figure.

“Through 1967, they were having the riots and everything and they would paint it black, and they would paint it white, and I’ll paint it black and go back-and-forth and it finally state black. And they were very excepting of this.”

Overall, Morgan wants readers to feel what he’s feeling and give them better insight.

“I think poetry is an art of imagery and really soul felt. I think the words really express what you see and what you feel,” said Morgan.

Morgan is still looking for places to sell the book at churches and bookstores, and it will soon be available on Amazon. If you’re interested in buying his book, you can currently purchase through his Facebook page. Jenario Morgan frequently attends open mics and programs in the South Bend area, and you can attend a reading at Saint Mary’s College on Wednesday, March 16th at 6:30 pm. He is also open for bookings.


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