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Hard times require furious dancing : new poems
Walker, Alice
Adult Nonfiction PS3573.A425 H37 2010

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Walker is of course well known as the author of the novel The Color Purple as well as other works of prose, but she has also published books of poetry throughout her career. Her poetic goals are more inspirational than literary. Poetry is, for her, a place to "share losses, health concerns, and other challenges common to the human condition," as she says in her preface; it is also a place to help heal those wounds. In narrow free verse, often with a single word on a line, Walker asks pertinent questions, such as, in "Watching You Hold Your Hatred," "Isn't it/ slippery?/ might you/ not/ someday/ drop it/ on/ yourself?" She also merges the personal and the political ("You'd be surprised/ to find/ how cleansing/ it feels/ to depose/ a/ dictator:/ There she is/ anticipating your/ every wish"); addresses a "Woman/ of color/ lighting up/ the/ dark"; and describes how love "is embedded in us,/ like seams of gold in the Earth." Walker's many fans won't be disappointed by this book. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

"Love, if it is love, never goes away./ It is embedded in us,/ like seams of gold in the Earth,/ waiting for light,/ waiting to be struck." As we can see, in the veins of Walker's poems optimism runs as deeply, as surely, as those seams of gold. Much like her earlier work (e.g., Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth), most of these sparse, lyrical poems are written in short, one- or two-word lines, quick and halting at once, every thought emphasized, resonating. The poems sing of joy and pain, loss and grief, love and transformation, with results that are redemptive. They address family turmoil and the violence and struggles of the outside world, working to unknot the inner tensions that those issues would engender: "This we know:/ We were/ not meant/ to suffer/ so much,/ & to learn/ nothing." There is much to be learned in confrontation, and Walker's poems bring us with her to resolution and, often enough, to a serene place. As she reminds us in her preface: "Hard times require furious dancing. Each of us is the proof." VERDICT Highly recommended for all readers of contemporary poetry and for anyone interested in African American literature.-Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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