I Am A Product is a vibrant intimate triumph of self-discovery sketched by Vania V. Hudson. In a perfect world this eloquent collection of harsh ruminations would be celebrated alongside the works of Carolyn M. Rodgers, Maya Angelou, Sonia Sanchez, and Bell Hooks for its rich imagery that spans a lifetime. Instead, it will go down in infamy as one of the best and most influential poetry books never known.
Genesis is our earthy introduction to our female protagonist’s life of trauma. Prose in no particular sequential order walks the reader through her troubled past that currently has her navigating in foreign but familiar territory in the present. Delivered in sobering flashback of childhood sexual abuse, unstable heterosexual relationships, and strained generational family ties that have bred her silent insecurity, she’s struggling moving forward. The tears from her eyes have dried up but the tears crying from her soul remain. But she’s okay and adjusting well post recovery. And we’re okay with that because that’s more than what we can ask for considering her circumstances.
Psalms is an extraordinary retrospective that reminds us time waits for no one. Our protagonist has moved on, carpe diem, and let the past go to her credit. Are doubts still there? Sure. Can she let the past go in a way that won’t sabotage a relationship? Perhaps, but she’s willing open enough to put herself out there and find out. The terrible beauty of this chapter is our protagonist has done the work to put herself back into the social swing of things just to have her vulnerability preyed on. We find out the hard way all the internal protocols she put in place to protect her heart from hurt have been breached by lovers and husbands with bad intentions.
The brilliance of this part of the book is that our protagonist isn’t even looking for love in all the wrong places. Try as she might her love elegy on the most minimalists of scales are constantly out of balance. With all she’s been through we’re okay with that since she’s already thrown herself to the wolves by engaging the most dangerous place on earth – her own heart and judgement. All that we can ask is for her to take responsibility for the consequences of her decisions and she does it! Our protagonist knows all her problems; the reader is the one becoming acquainted with her unintentional pattern of bad men that wreck the fragile peace she’s worked so hard to achieve. And she’s working through it asking herself all the right questions.
Revelations is the quintessentially raw coming to Jesus moment that we didn’t see coming but will make even atheists glad it happened. In a humbled conclusion we follow our protagonist on a deeply spiritual journey that’s exclusively about embracing the joy she’s found from inner peace. Her understanding has grown thanks in part to long talk with God that has her attention focused on how she can love herself and not need that validation from others. As such, our protagonist has made peace with her corner of the world and all the wrong within it. For the first time in a long time she can recant good memories from the people that trespassed against her without doubt or self-loathing. She doesn’t need us to hold her hand or give our opinions and approvals. Our protagonist is in a good place. We feel privileged to be along for the ride.
We were the privileged ones she allowed to come along for the ride.
Quiet, reflective, and critically intellectual, the poems of I Am A Product culminate a linguistic power that hasn’t been seen in poetry for the last fifty years. It is a blessing to have such a direct and honest interpretation culminating the secrets of everyday life that fit into any current discussions on the basis of childhood abuse, domestic violence, and the many facets of interpersonal family dynamics. This isn’t your typical Social Justice Warrior fare; this is a non-biased work which sends a strong message that a lifetime of pain can be overcome with patience.
Vania Hudson has craftfully woven an impressive body of work that at twenty-two years old has aged well like a fine merlot for being purely human. It’s just unfortunate that one of the greatest poets of her generation is still virtually unknown, with her work one of the greatest collections of poetry never known.