Brook Blander was born in Savannah, GA, “heir to ignorance of self-love” and “entrenched six generations deep” in abuse of all sorts and measurements. In her newly released and highly anticipated fifth book, now that I’m here; lyrics from the mud to the sun (2010), she tells of her conception in a damp basement through the rape of her mother. She calls the book her lyrical autobiography. Nikki Giovanni, author of Bicycles, described it “a wonderful introduction to a new voice in poetry.” Former Detroit Poet Laureate, Naomi Long Madgett’s praise reads “This is a book of triumph…”
During her early years, she lived outside the presence and comfort of her mother and in the unbearable discomfort of pain which strained the limits of her tender heart. “When I was a girl, I thought crying was for pain only and didn’t cry my first tear of joy until I saw my mom walking up the street from the bus stop, ready to take me home with her. When I was a girl…” It could have been anything but, perhaps, it was despair which flung her, at the age of five, into the imaginative world of the stories she penned.
Back then her audience included the strangers aboard city buses to whom she read her stories while she traveled alone. Today, her audiences fill stadiums, museums, auditoriums, libraries and coffee houses throughout the country. Blander was a featured author/poet at the 2014 NAACP Annual Convention in Las Vegas, NV. She has been a featured author/poet sharing the stage with a few of her (s)heros, Nikki Giovanni, Pam Grier, Suzzanne Douglas-Cobb, and Sheryl Lee Ralph at the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 50th Annual Convention in New Orleans, LA. as well as a featured poet and spokesperson for the I Am Woman Expo, an organization bringing awareness to the devastating realities of domestic violence, in Detroit, MI.
When asked about the purpose of her poetry, she said, “My goal in poetry is to bring awareness to the secrets that are buried deep with people’s lives. Those same secrets hinder relationships, growth and inner peace.” She uses her poetry as a form of activism and believes it can and will change the world, and aid in the rebuilding of victims of abuse as it has done for her. Reaching beyond the confinements of walls of layered bricks, she has been featured in numerous magazines such as The Feminist Wire Magazine, From The Inside Out Magazine, Black Pearls Magazine, and Detour Memphis among others. She has also been a guest on several popular radio shows including internet radio shows Motown Writers Literary Network and Sippin’ on Ink. Blander has served as the resident poet for The F Club Radio Talk Show with Ramona Prater on WCHB 1200AM in Detroit, MI.
Her first book titled From This Day Forward (2003) is a writer’s journal designed to motivate dedication to writing and daily journaling, one of her favorite engagements with her self. As in past years, she continues to lecture and facilitate writers groups upon request. SoulSpoken (2005), her second book and debut poetic collection of “fully grown” pieces tells of her violent entry into this world, a tribute to one of her favorite artist, a call to fathers, and the strength bound in her locs and love. During the fall of 2007, her third book, Lyrics Of An Awakening, emerged. It is the rhythmic telling of her resistance and surrender to the art of poetry, chapters of her life, politics, pain, and love. Always love. WB Burkholder of Trabadour21 said, “Ms. Blander’s reflective writings are a gift to anyone who has the good fortune to experience fine poetry.”
In 2009, she founded ebonyLotus WriteLife Studio (formerly ebonyLotus Creatives), a publishing assistance company for self-published authors. It allows her full creative control of her works and offers the same to female poets and authors. In conjunction, it is the revitalization of the art of journaling through her handmade journal line. Later that year, the perfect storm, quiet and mighty, arrived in her fourth book, Personal. Intimate Comforts Of Reflection (2009). With her personal journal entries included, the book portrays love and exposes the horrors of physical abuse victimization passed on by women generations before her, and in beauty with grace tells of their strength to endure. Blander began the S.H.E. Movement (Surviving, Healing, and Empowering), a month-long series of performances and guest appearances to raise awareness of domestic violence, and a call for action. She has exposed her life, free of shame, a renewed spirit in hopes that “telling it saves, heals and encourages those that still live with sealed lips and bound feet.”
In a moment of wonder, she spoke with Alice Walker whom she has admired for almost her entire life, whom has provided light for a lengthy portion of the way. A week later, she met another admired pioneer, Nikki Giovanni. The meetings made clear the path she has sought is the path she is traveling. In the present, she can be found giving her time, talent and contributions to assist in the restoration of broken spirits as a result of domestic violence and child abuse. She continues this journey without the promise of triumph and reward to tell the wounded that “love harbors within …every other kind of love sought is secondary.” This world is her stage to champion change. “There is no more room left in my heart to be afraid.”