To read Venus Thrashs The Fateful Apple (Urban Poets and Lyricists, 2014) is to venture into two assertions of self-hood. The first is a raucous, boundary-setting with the world and the second is reverent consciousness of ancestry and quietude. Thrash plays out her own duality of self and history and takes the reader on a journey back to the center, the place we return to when no more is expected of us.
The connective tissue for these different worlds is music— it is used to place the reader in the nostalgic landscapes of the speaker’s memory. Beyond the quoting of and allusions to song, there is a musicality of loss and longing that permeates the verse, “…why not call it a painful, joyful kind of knowing, one that stretches the knowing, loving embrace of the blues beyond where the blues thought it could go?” (Dr. Keith Leonard, Foreword pg. 4).
From the bustle and life of urban streets to the bucolic and pastoral, Thrash is present in the landscape and the page. “Nighttime furls its dark brow /swallows the town in blackness.// Beyond the bend in the road/ a weather-beaten angel oak// twists into an arthritic pose.”
I deeply enjoyed speaking with Venus about her debut collection, her childhood in Georgia, and her life in Washington D.C. There is a calmness present in her that radiates, even through voice, to others and draws them nearer. The same can be said for her writing. It takes the reader to unfamiliar terrain, but with an assured hand guiding them.