Book Review “I am Soul” by the imcomparable Yecheilyah Ysrayl #RRBC #RWISA
FOREMOST, It has been a long time my friends but I hope you all have remained safe and healthy. This is a crazy time we are living in right now. I have fallen behind in reviewing some incredible books and collections due my work life as a Social Worker and Inpatient Program Manager. I wish to thank everyone who has reached out to me or sent warm wishes during this health scare that is surrounding us all. I do apologize if my silence has worried anyone or caused them concern.
My first review is a beautiful poetry and prose anthology by the beautiful Yecheilyah Ysrayl. I happened upon her through the wonder Rave Reviews Book Club #RRBC and #RWISA.
Before I go into my review, please read more about Yecheilyah Ysrayl and her collection “I am Soul”
About “I am Soul” (taken from Amazon):
I am Soul is Yecheilyah’s fourth collection of poetry and a 2019 Kindle Book Review Winner for Poetry in the 8th Annual Kindle Book Awards, 2019. The poems focus on Black History, Identity, Personal Development, and Spirituality. Readers describe this collection as touching, intelligent, personal and deeply soulful.
About Yecheilyah Ysrayl:
Yecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) grew up on the South Side of Chicago, IL. She is an award-winning Author, Blogger, and Poet. Yecheilyah studied Technical and Professional Writing at Chicago State University, and Psychology with a minor in Child and Adolescent Studies at Argosy University, Atlanta. She is a member of Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC), RWISA International Society of Authors, and The National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She writes Black Historical Fiction, Poetry, and Inspirational Non-Fiction. Ysrayl is the founder of Yecheilyah Books LLC, Yecheilyah’s Annual Poetry Contests, Lit Mag Literary Magazine for Poets, and The PBS Blog, where she publishes the work of other writers, Book Reviews, and Writing Tips for Independent (Indie) Authors and Publishers. Yecheilyah lives in Dallas, Georgia with her husband where attends the University of West Alabama online while writing and publishing full-time. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.
Truth is limitless
It needs no acknowledgment
and yet wears a crown.
Truth needs no confirmations,
and yet rules.
it’s accepted by the faithful
and resisted by those who are afraid.Excerpt from the poem “Truth” by Yecheilyah Ysrayl from “I am Soul”
It is difficult to find the words to truly express my emotions regarding this exquisite collection of poetry and prose by Yecheilyah Ysrayl, other than I am truly speechless and in awe. Ms Israyl takes her readers on a journey of identity, struggle, and African-American history in a way that leaves the reader truly breathless and mesmerized. Every one of her poetic works causes the reader to picture the literary image she is painting through lyrical arts.
In a magical way, she reviews the works of novelist James Baldwin, all while sharing her own memoir. I loved every poetic work she created but I do have a few favorites, such as “Truth”, If My Books Shall Die”, “Her Song”, “Hope Like Water”, “To Lose a Friend”, “These Good People”, “Why I Read”, “Silent Heart Breaks”, “Eyes to See”, “I Wonder”, to name a few. I also enjoyed her “Love Letters to some of the Black Women Writers who inspired me” section, as well. Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou are two of my favorite writers, and if I might add, their influence is definitely infused throughout her work.
The poetic works “If My Books Shall Die” truly hit hard, as she describes an artist’s legacy. As author’s, we all hope to leave a piece of our soul, if not our entire soul, in our bodies of work. Not only does she leave her soul in this collection, but her body, blood, mind, and breath as well. She is my new “goddess of the lyrical”, as she reminded me why I also write in the poetic free verse form.
As a woman of color, she reminds us to never take our differences or history for granted, and to celebrate the scars we inherited in an effort to stop the cycle of racism, bigotry, and hatred. If our recent losses in the US have pointed out anything, we still have work to do. Children are shot for jogging in their neighborhood, and some of our police officers continue to profile the different. I pray for a world where we can hold hands and not have to worry about who wants to harm or kill me.
As you can see, Yecheilyah will take all of her readers on a journey of retrospection and education. She will remind you that we live in a world where some people wish things were still “black and white”, instead of celebrating it in full color. This being said, I humbly give “I am Soul” a FIVE-STAR rating, and truly everyone picks up this book today!