The form of poetry that is blues is very unique, as it originated as African American traditional music and follows a particular style and rhythm. It uses iambic pentameter, caesura, repetition, especially of the first lines in a stanza, and contains themes that are very “blue”, like unhappiness and pain. A blues poem that follows this traditional form is Sherley Anne Williams’ poem “Any Woman’s Blues”. In this poem, Williams uses the form of blues poetry to express the blues or unhappy feelings that “every woman is a victim of”.
Williams starts the poem by describing how she is feeling, a feeling that appears to be a loneliness that is all too familiar to her. She writes, “me alone at night” and goes on “tryin not to be alone…I lived my life alone” (Williams 194). In these lines Williams is describing how she currently feels alone, as well as how she has been there many times before and wants to escape this constant cycle that women feel in their lives as maybe a result of failing love or loss or something else. She goes on to say, “I sing em like any woman do…my life ain’t done yet…my song ain’t through” (Williams 194–195). With this ending she is appearing to be saying that although the cycle has been very hard to break, she still has hope and still has confidence that herself and other women can escape this cycle of blues and constant challenging feelings that tear them down. Her song isn’t over and neither are those of other women who have the power to make a change in their blue lives and those of others, even.
Williams, Sherley Anne. “Any Woman’s Blues.” An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art. Edited by Anne Finch and Kathrine Varnes, U of Michigan P, 2002, p. 194–195.