Cynthia Manick’s poetry collection personifies love of self and culture through fresh observations and bitter truths voiced with breathtaking lyricism.
No Sweet Without Brine is both a soulful and celebratory collection that summons sticky sweet memories with an acrid aftertaste of deep thought. Satisfying moments are captured in odes to Idris Elba’s dulcet tones on a meditation app and the satisfaction of half-priced Entenmann’s poundcake; in childlike observations of parental Black love, the coveted female form on Jet Magazine covers, and the desire for Zamunda to be a real place full of Black joy.
The sour taps into an analysis of reclusiveness, silencing catcalls from men on the street, and detailed recipes and advice to the Black girls forced to endow themselves with armor against the world. Cynthia Manick’s latest is a playlist of everyday life, introverted thoughts, familial bonds, and social commentary. In piercing language, she traces the circle of life for a narrator who dares to exist between youthful remembrances and adulthood realities.
Each poem in No Sweet Without Brine is a reminder that a hint of sorrow makes the celebration and recognition of the glory of Blackness in all ways, and through all people, that much sweeter.