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“Ground breaking and cathartic”: Stacey Marie Robinson Reviews Orville Lloyd Douglas’ Under My Skin

Another review of Orville Lloyd Douglas’ Under My Skin is in, from Stacey Marie Robinson writing for the Journal of Canadian Urban Fiction. Robinson begins her review by stating that she was “uncomfortable reading Under My Skin”. She goes on to say that this had a lot to do with Douglas’ CNN appearance, when “he was defending his article ‘Why I Hate Being a Black Man’…the conversation was shocking to me, because I had yet to hear a black man speak so honestly about his insecurities on an international platform.” Robinson continues to praise Douglas for the honesty that he conveys in his poems, “for speaking his truth with such conviction. There was no fear in these words. No holds barred. No apologies. No ambiguity. He stood firm in his truth, and communicated his realities as such. He used language and emotion, and put together a collection of poetry that spoke so specifically to his experience, and most likely will speak directly to a demographic of urban Canadians who are encountering, have encountered, or will encounter similar ideals, discriminations, or hopes”. Robinson points out the variety of concerns that Douglas responds to. These include the racial expectations of being a black man, “he expresses his experiences having his black authenticity questioned…in words that clearly show that his acceptance came more from his white counterparts in the city, than those he shared racial and cultural similarities with”. Turning to Douglas’ critical reflections on Canadian national identity, Robinson states “Douglas is honest and upfront with his feelings not only about race, but about his patriotism as well”. Besides drawing on Douglas’ “Life as Black man”, his poems also show his “Life as a Homosexual man”, portrayed in “a heartbreaking tale”, “pain…in the form of a love affair that didn’t have a favorable end result. While one can assume these are personal stories of Douglas’, they surely also account for situations and difficulties expressed by others”. Finally, Robinson praises Under My Skin for revealing “this perspective [that] has been hidden from common public discourse”, stating “I commend Douglas for standing in his truth, and for Guernica Editions for publishing his truth”. Under My Skin is “a step in the right direction of celebrating various experiences, and including all voices and perspectives in the dominant cultural conversation”.

To read the full review, visit the Journal of Canadian Urban Fiction:

To read more about Under My Skin, visit the Guernica Editions website:

To read more about Orville Lloyd Douglas, visit the Guernica Editions website:

Posted in News, Poetry, Reviews.

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