Conversations With Women


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Campbell provides an outlook which is original and unique; an outlook which challenges our view on gender, on the masculine and the feminine.

I expected Conversations with Women to be about women through a male gaze. I expected to grimace at Campbell’s attempt to capture the female experience. Both expectations were to be proven false within the first few pages. Campbell provides an outlook which is original and unique; an outlook which challenges our view on gender, on the masculine and the feminine, and reminds us how much of what we believe is a societal construct.

Campbell’s use of colour, sensory imagery and the elements is astonishingly beautiful. He captures the different women who have shaped him and guided him in a light unique to each one. He recalls the ‘Jamaica yellow’ of one woman and the striking outlines of his mother’s face, a beauty he never saw depicted in the magazines. This collection celebrates the feminine yet still captures the masculine spirit within women, as well as their fears and the oppression inflicted by patriarchal infrastructure and beliefs.

He also explores the feminine spirit (as he calls it) within himself - quoting a teacher who wondered what the world would look like if more men tried to be more like their mothers than their fathers. He also acknowledges his place in the fight for equality. He does not seek to carry the mantle for women, on behalf of women; belittling their strength and perseverance. Instead, he offers to move out of woman’s way and this sentiment has stayed with me. It is a fresh look at equality. This work questions how men who seek to learn from the women in their lives do so, but continue to triumph over them due to being men. Campbell makes a conscious decision not to do this. He chooses to question gender and how make believe it really is.

Thus, the ‘conversations’ in this book end up reading as incredibly human above anything else. When you choose to look beyond gender, Campbell’s words are about life and its struggles and the journeys you will embark upon. 

Reviewed by

I am a writer and freelance editor/proofreader based in the UK. I have self-published two poetry collections (Between the Trees and Flowers on the Wall). I enjoy reviewing poetry, short stories, literary fiction and historical fiction. I am the Editor-in-Chief for Free Verse Revolution magazine.


About the author

Cebo Campbell is an award-winning author, poet, and artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Cebo’s work in fiction is devoted to featuring characters of varying race, sex, and age, unstereotyped, in common narratives. What drives his work is a single mantra: everyone should both have a hero and be one. view profile

Published on January 07, 2019

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Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Poetry

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