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Turn Me Loose Review

Blake Rose

The series of poems expresses a variety of perspectives regarding the civil rights
movement. Within this timeline, it includes a civil rights activist who gets assassinated, but also
the relativity of everyone who affected his life. This can range from his assassin, the assassins
wife, brother, and wife. The significant theme is racism, but there are traces of ones struggle
with identity and troublesome relationships as well. All, if not most of the poems, have a different
format, making the reader subject to perceive them differently. For example, in the poem
Ambiguity Over the Confederate Flag, half of the poem is in one column and in normal font and
the other half is in another column and italicized. Looking at this, it seems as if one side is
almost hidden and not meant to be read or known similarly to the opinions and daily hardships
of those on the worse end of slavery. Additionally, the tone of the poems is comparatively
negative most of the time. If the tone is ever positive, its likely because the subject of the prose
is what could have been or what used to be- a better time than living in the movement. To the
naked eye, some of this material could be offensive, as one of the pieces is titled Music,
Niggers, and Jews. Living in the century we are in now, the frame of offense is adjunct to the
relationships that have changed over time. The author himself was barely living during the heart
of this whole evolution and most of his works were published fairly recently. Knowing this fact,

you can make the realization that he essentially had little first hand experience with his assumed
side of struggle, potentially changing the intention of the whole thing.
This piece of literature was intended for the American public, not necessarily one group
of people. Acknowledging this, the individual poems are written from different in terms of
different points of view as stated previously. With this purpose in mind, the author, Frank X
Walker, attempted to be unbiased in his works. At that time, segregation engulfed the southern
part of the United States. Just like in Kentucky, specifically in Lexington, as slaves were being
auctioned off on the backside of the old courthouse. Sadly, segregation continued through times
of post slavery, but thats why the Civil Rights movement was significant. Certain people, usually
white men in the south, would put emphasis on verbally and physically attacking African
American people. There was a certain line that stood out in Music, Niggers & Jews, His songs
was real music- not none of that monkey shine they try to sell. Theres a prime example of the
perspective previously brought up. Frank X Walker isnt necessarily attempting to bash certain
individuals due to their past behaviors, but hes trying to show our culture how far weve come
from the movement. In the past, blacks and whites werent even allowed to attend classes
together. Now a days, interracial relationships and marriages are seen in a brighter light. Overall,
these set of poems represent each perspective the author can think of, allowing an unbiased,
but powerful interpretation.
Even though, Iv said he shows an act to be unbiased due to the multiple perspectives.
Doesnt mean the words used in certain perspectives arent biased. Its understood, that many
white citizens at the time were racist. These poems tend to show the worst of all the white

people. Once again, I want to look at a line in, Haiku for Emmitt Till, the all white jury guzzled
beer, while his momma shed tears on the stand. This shows only the negative side of the white
race and how the white jury lacks responsibility. He tends to take a situation where someone
white tends to be racist and attacks them in a way. Its effective due to the fact its during the
Civil Rights movement. If Frank X Walker wasnt being a bit biased then his message wouldnt
be as effective. This trend changes in, White Knights, as the following lines state,

For every racist governor


and flaming cross
theres a white catholic priest
dodging bricks, wiping off spit,
bleeding from the temple in the
thick of the march

for every hundred southerns


teaming with hatred
theres a set of kind blue eyes
full of hope, theres a young heart

unafraid of change and a reason

not to fear or pity of them at all.

This is important because he shows the hate of the southerners, he represents the slang the
white people use, and the lack of responsibility during a black mans trial. In this case, he
represents the few white individuals who stand for the equality. This book is special because it
shows bias in certain ways, then counters that bias later on. The author does a great job of
deceiving the audience with bias, but then draws certain groups back in. Regardless, his poems
are realist and brutally honest. Thats why they're so effective.
Overall, this book full of powerful pieces of literature creates the perspectives from each
side of the fight. When I say fight, I mean the fight towards equality and the end of
segregation. This book points out an important time in our countries history. The perspectives
shown range from the assassin, the assassins wife, brother, and wife. Slang words such a
nigger and coon are used in a variety of poems to put emphasis on certain problems. Many
white southerners use those slang words to degrade an African American. Frank X Walker is
able to use the perspectives of those white individuals and make that connection to present the
hate. Thats what gets the readers mind to wake up, is the harsh reality he displays in certain
poems. Sometimes it takes controversial wordings and powerful statements to prove certain
points to the public. Till this day, people go around flying confederate flags on the back of trucks.
Which isnt only obnoxious, but those flags represent slavery, segregation, and white power.
Therefore, pieces such as Frank X Walkers Turn Me Loose, open the eyes of all who partake in
the reading. These poems spoke to me, they told me how far we have come as a nation. It

reveals the racist thoughts of many white southerners, but also the select few (whites) that were
able to stand for the right thing. Yes, there is bias within certain areas of the book, but those
areas really emphasize his message.Most importantly, Frank X Walker, writes about the pain felt
by African Americans during the movement. He allows it to come from straight from characters
allowing the public to invest in those characters emotionally.