"Take Me Like a Photograph," originally published more than 25 years ago by a young poet, Chocolate Waters, then less than 30 years of age, is a remarkable work, and I love it. It is a book of poetry and personality.
then, in 1977, "Take Me Like a Photograph" was an exploration
of a young poet's developing womanhood, of her blossoming lesbian discovery
of self. Back then, it was also a history-making achievement, probably
worth reading for that alone. But this is also a collection of poems.
And these twenty-five year old poems are no less compelling today than
they were when they were brand new, twenty-five years ago.
title poem is an excellent example of the combination of poetry and
personality that makes this work so appealing:
You have loved me for myself,
In these lines is a sophisticated awareness, a full working out of the
sensibility of poet and personality, of art and the individual made
one. The movement from 'for myself' to 'not a picture off me' is thrust
gently forward into a satisfying and surprising place, as the next line
continues, 'someone else has taken.' Just read it over:
You have loved me for myself,
And, of course, the line break, 'me / someone' sounds the delicate ear
of a finely tuned poetic instrument and propels the senses into that
refined place where poetry and personality are one.
should have mentioned at the beginning that I had been told that "Take
Me Like a Photograph" is a classic work of the Women's Movement.
This description made me nervous. I was expecting propaganda and self-righteousness.
I found, instead, art and humanity. I found a young woman, a young poet,
a beautiful young heart laboring to uncover the art in her life and
the life in her art. And Chocolate Waters, amazing soul that she is,
is not reluctant to tell us what she finds:
sprang / half-grown / from the / touch /
send my love beneath the ground /
touch me / and I / fall down.
Chocolate you are / mine and I am everything you want /
Me Like a Photograph" is surrender and triumph. It is the vulnerability
of youth. And the indestructibility of youth.
I urge you to take this book with you a few weeks wherever you go; let it take you places you have never been, lovely and heroic.
To the man reporter from the Denver Post - First edition 1975; Second edition 1980 A Biting Collection.
This book is as topical today as it was when it was first published in 1975. Bravo Ms. Waters! A must read for women old and young, those who lived through the second wave of feminism, and the young women today who need to know what that struggle was all about. Chocolate Waters has the ability to write in a way that her works will never be "out of style".
Charting New Waters - First edition 1980
A River Rages Through It
New Waters is a funny and gutsy collection of poetry, cartoons, autobiographical
essay and political satire. Not always pretty, Chocolate Waters' work
is hard-hitting and often side-splitting in it's raw emotion, humor
and truthfulness. She is free with her hurt, her lust, her rage, her
laughter. For all of you who lived through the birth of radical lesbianism,
she guides a nostalgic ride that time only enhances. For younger readers,
Waters offers a glimpse of the reality of life for political lesbians
in the seventies.
If you're looking for Moon, Spoon and June poetry, try another author. Waters is shockingly real in her open sexuality and alternative cultural lifestyle. If you're looking for wild and wonderful experience through the eyes of someone with the been-there Blues, try tasting Chocolate.