When “Take Our Country Back” has become a white nationalist rallying cry, Ewuare Osayande’s book poses the fundamental question of this time. Writing in the socially-engaged poetic tradition of Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman, Whose America? is a collection of poems that takes on the political climate of this country and garners the praises of two Black poetry legends, Amiri Baraka and Haki R. Madhubuti. In the book’s introduction, Madhubuti states that Whose America? is both “a question and an answer.” “His poetic range is that of a seer,” continues Madhubuti. “Writing to this poet is like drinking water; it is his life-source, his song, and his uniquely determined voice.”It is from this artistic trajectory that Osayande crafts a whirlwind of poems that chronicle the national political journey of the past few years. From Hurricane Katrina to the current economic crisis, Osayande is a bard that pays homage to the strength of the human spirit with each poem.
In Whose America? Osayande is reporter, translator, interpreter, and negotiator. He takes us from the ghettoes of Paris to the marshes of Nigeria to the ruins of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. He remembers the lives of activists and cultural icons such as Octavia E. Butler, Gil Scott-Heron, Lucille Clifton and Ken Saro-Wiwa. Osayande’s poems cry forth a defiance that is rooted in an unflinching love for humanity.