I think I would have preferred reading the poems in the original collections they were pulled from. That being said, a number of the poems in this collection stopped me in my tracks. One of my favorite things about Nelson is her explanation of certain poems at the end of the text. She didn't provide an explanation for all the poems included, but I like knowing the inspiration behind a piece.
I wish more poets would do that. After you're done reading you can read the notes at the end a 3.
After you're done reading you can read the notes at the end and then revisit the piece with a different frame of reference. Oct 22, Sandra Pyeatt rated it it was amazing Shelves: challenge. I LOVE these poems that range from family to history to spiritual explorations of good and evil. Nelson is such a skilled poet and beautiful thinker. As a white woman, I greatly valued the opportunity to read a black woman poet and glimpse a little of the world from her perspective. Apr 05, Emma rated it liked it Shelves: college. Did I actually finish this book?
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Am I still marking it as read? Duh, have you seen how far behind I am on my reading challenge? Feb 17, Mike rated it it was amazing. Essential reading. Marilyn Nelson's poetry has a broader range than almost any poet I could name, with work that illuminates the unseen corners of Jim Crow and the untold human faces of the slave era, the lives of Black Air Force pilots, and which tells the tale of Biblical Jonah in the person of Mississippi John Hurt.
These poems are rooted in the earth but reach far into the sky and beyond, into metaphysical and spiritual turns and digressions that illuminate the reader like stars and celestia Essential reading. These poems are rooted in the earth but reach far into the sky and beyond, into metaphysical and spiritual turns and digressions that illuminate the reader like stars and celestial bodies on the darkest night.
In a world where the New Yorker magazine celebrates the inanity of travel poems that require the inclusion of the word "light," Marilyn Nelson, extolled though she is, goes criminally unrecognized in comparison to pithy so called luminaries like Billy Collins. Do yourself a favor and read this book. Savor these poems. Parcel yourself out one a day, for these dark days we are entering. Dec 04, Jen rated it liked it Shelves: poetry.
Poetry Society of America
I enjoyed the first half of this page book would have given it 4 stars , which dealt with the experiences of motherhood and brought to life Nelson's ancestors. I was thoroughly enjoying the personalities and lives she was celebrating. But in the second half of the book she is obsessed with religious feeling and seems infatuated with a figure called Abba Jacob.
I did not end up infatuated with him but found him and her admiration of what he says tiresome. Some later poems focus on evil. There I enjoyed the first half of this page book would have given it 4 stars , which dealt with the experiences of motherhood and brought to life Nelson's ancestors. There were two poems in the this section I enjoyed. One was a rendering of the story of Jonah in a humorous voice.
The other was the very last poem which tells of an act of contrition by a racist redneck. I am not a religious person, which I'm sure affected my response to the poems in the second half of the book. Others might enjoy the Abba Jacob poems. This second half wrestles with divine love--union with god and attempts at unconditional love toward humanity in general. I also should mention Nelson's use of form. I recall a couple of ballads, one villanelle, some bluesy moments and many sonnets, including a well-done crown of sonnets "Thus Far By Faith" about an Uncle Warren, who started out preaching to mules and eventually ended up founding a church because the racists banned people of color from their church.
This also had religious subject matter but I found it thoroughly enjoyable. I would look at another of her books but would scan it first to gauge the number of religious poems in it. In my opinion, she is at her best reviving history and celebrating the lives of ordinary people, none of whom are ordinary when she renders them. She's excellent at conjuring voices, which brings both Uncle Warren and Jonah to life. At the end of the book, Nelson provides notes on some of the poems that are helpful. Kudos to her for thinking to offer such a service and kudos to the couple who thought to purchase it!
Mar 06, Rebecca rated it really liked it. I kept getting her confused with Marilyn Hacker, but I'm glad I finally set the record straight. Nelson gives her free verse real freedom without letting the narrative veer off course. I especially appreciate her use of history with the Tuskegee Airmen. I also like her tongue-in-cheek poems about everyday life her marriage, motherhood, etc.
She's got humor.
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She's got praise. She's got a sense of honor and irony. She's a keeper. Oct 06, Chris Kostenko rated it liked it. Every mother ought to read selections from this book, Actually, as a father I found it thought provoking. Marilyn Nelson is thought provoking. Shelves: poetry. Mar 10, E rated it it was ok Shelves: poetry. A very strong voice that slid repeatedly into Biblical and mythological allegories. Not my scene. Too bad the date wasn't fun enough for a second. Oct 21, Amy Kitchell rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry. Nelson's poems are strong and rooted in a bluesy passion.
It feels as if her poems are a family tale she is sharing with the reader. Sep 16, Sonia Allison rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , , increase-black-women-poetry , most-favorite , conscience , marilyn-nelson.
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Mike rated it liked it Jan 30, Cati rated it it was amazing Mar 16, Tasha rated it liked it Oct 16, Karen Chandler rated it it was amazing Jun 06, William rated it it was amazing Aug 31, Michelle Blake rated it it was amazing Jun 18, Honoree Jeffers rated it really liked it Jan 18, David Baker is a poet of American anti-pastoral.
His mind operates against the vividly rendered landscape of small-town Ohio, where he has lived for more than thirty years. The volume affords a longitudinal view of a sensibility that is itself devoted to observing change over time. His style is full of second guesses, and as his work matures he makes a virtue of hesitation. The hedge apples reappear, as food for starving deer, not as fodder for symbolism. The deer themselves keep returning, grim timekeepers, seemingly hungrier and in greater numbers.
Nearly running the creature over with his mower, Baker discovers in the tall grasses a. Her father, the poet, keeps qualifying and refining his descriptions. Sometimes you feel the tension between the torrent of language and the rigid banks of his chosen stanza forms. But Baker can also moderate tension to allow sentences and the effects they describe to unfold at their own pace, as in this lambent description of monarch butterflies:. Never a partisan of any single poetic school or creed, Baker is free to toggle between tactics of attention.