Grocery Shopping with My Mother (Hardcover)
December 2022 Indie Next List
“Powell’s return to poetry shines a light on the small details of everyday life — fear, tenderness, and what really matters in this vulnerable world. He does not forget the figures that shaped his world and influenced this album of hope.”
— Shannon Alden, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
“Kevin Powell returns with a poetic time capsule written with love in honor of his mother’s evolution. Powell investigates the nature of our country's oppression through the generational wounds survived and passed on. These poems are a testament to the healing work of Kevin Powell, as they revel in the power of forgiveness, abundance, and lineage.” —Mahogany L. Browne, Lincoln Center's inaugural poet in residence and author of Vinyl Moon
When Kevin Powell’s elderly mother became ill, he returned home every week to take her grocery shopping in Jersey City. Walking behind her during those trips, Powell began to hear her voice, stories, and language in a new way—examining his own healing while praying for hers.
Grocery Shopping with My Mother originated as social media posts about these visits and evolved into a breathtaking collection of thirty-two new poems, crafted like an album, plus four bonus tracks celebrating a great love of wordplay. Culturally rooted in the literary traditions of Ntozake Shange and Allen Ginsberg, Powell’s poems honor the likes of V (formerly Eve Ensler), bell hooks, and Sidney Poitier.
Grocery Shopping with My Mother dives into the complexities of relationships and contemporary themes with honesty and vulnerability. Creatively and spiritually inspired by Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, Powell’s poems shift in form and style, from praise chants to reverential meditations to, most importantly, innovative hope.
About the Author
KEVIN POWELL is one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary, and hip-hop voices in the United States. A poet, journalist, civil and human rights activist, and filmmaker, he is the author of fourteen previous books. Powell’s next title will be a biography of Tupac Shakur. A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.
"What a distressing, tender joy to read the title poem of Kevin Powell’s confident and totally unselfconscious collection, only to discover that much of the book navigates similar themes of diaspora, colorism, loneliness, and the pitfalls of prioritizing survival over care." —J. Howard Rosier, Vulture
"One of 15 Books by Black Authors to Read This Winter" —Essence
"A powerful poetry collection of poems that are riddled with themes of healing, empowerment, and raw emotion . . . Will leave you with a new perspective on love, injustice, and devotion to your people that will make your sorrows soothed and your soul uplifted." —The Poetry Question
"Strikingly beautiful and heart-wrenching." —Chicago Review of Books
“Kevin Powell’s forthcoming poetry collection started on social media and evolved into 32 new poems in conversation with Stevie Wonder, Sidney Poitier, bell hooks, and many more cultural icons. As he accompanies his elderly and ill mother on her weekly grocery trips in Jersey City, he hears her in a new way, and brings those stories to us in this innovative, poignant collection.” —Eliza Smith, A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of the Year
"The personal and the political, the praiseworthy and the reprehensible mingle in smooth poems with a distinctive voice." —Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“Kevin Powell returns with a poetic time capsule written with love in honor of his mother’s evolution. Powell investigates the nature of our country's oppression through the generational wounds survived and passed on. These poems are a testament to the healing work of Kevin Powell, as they revel in the power of forgiveness, abundance, and lineage.” —Mahogany L. Browne, Lincoln Center's Inaugural Poet-in-Residence; author of Vinyl Moon