“COFFLE by Reginald Flood is, as the title implies, a line-up, a sequence--but not the beaten queue of the original definition, with ‘animals and slaves’ in a forced march. The startling music of these bold poems is at times syncopated and dramatically wed to the drumbeat, the heartbeat--but these poems are also intent on ‘leaving the line-up’ as Flood says --escaping into high, vertiginous lyrical flight. In the Foreword, the poet thanks his mother, who encouraged him to memorize and read Paul Laurence Dunbar in the sixth grade for Black History Week. The historical personae, the varied voices here, speak to the past and the future in turn from that early elocution. ‘Let a boy finish memory,’ he says, and we are made to see here, unquestionably, that remembering and imagining are the same thing. What he remembers, he re-aligns and sets moving these shifting, spectacular ruptures in the field, the narrative horizon - we are in the presence here of what is linguistically inevitable--sheer reiterative eloquence.”
Carolyn Muske-Dukes, author of Twin Cities and Swallow, National Book Award finalist
Reginald Flood's "Coffle" is an effusive down-home symphony that surrounds the reader with a warmly familiar, addicting music--you'll find yourself "amen-ing" out loud while reading these deftly-rendered tributes to the bone, breath and bodaciousness of colored folk.
Patricia Smith, author of Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (Coffee House, 2012) and Blood Dazzler, finalist for the National Book Award