Juan Francisco Manzano was born in 1797 into the household of wealthy slaveowners in Cuba. He spent his early years at the side of his owner's wife, entertaining her friends. His poetry was his outlet, reflecting the beauty and cruelty of his world. Written in verse.
Engle studied Manzano’s poetry and life and was determined to write about him. She decided that to do justice to the power of his words, the biography should also be written in verse. Her poems are powerful, evoking a visceral response to the cruelty, sadness, dashed hopes and lost opportunities the young Juan experienced. But there is also the triumph of his indomitable spirit and a voice that would not be silenced.
I’m so glad I came across this little gem.