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Rice

Poems

Nikky Finney

Publication Year: 2013

In Rice, her second volume of poetry, Nikky Finney explores the complexity of rice as central to the culture, economy, and mystique of the coastal South Carolina region where she was born and raised. The prized Carolina Gold rice paradoxically made South Carolina one of the most oppressive states for slaves and also created the remarkable Gullah culture on the coastal islands. The poems in Rice compose a profound and unflinching journey connecting family and the paradoxes of American history, from the tragic times when African slaves disembarked on the South Carolina coast to the triumphant day when Judge Ernest A. Finney Jr., Nikky’s father, was sworn in as South Carolina’s first African American chief justice. Images from the Finney family archive illustrate and punctuate this collection. Rice showcases Finney’s hungry intellect, her regional awareness and pride, and her sensitivity to how cultures are built and threatened.

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Cover

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p. C-C

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-xiv

Dear Nikky,
There is little else I can do but respond to your collection, which, I confess, was clandestinely acquired and which I read with the furtive excitement of a child who is reading taboo—actually in print. The collection produces a feeling—a sense of...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xvi

My first breaths were drawn, my first words coaxed on a triangular patch of sandy land called South Carolina. This was land that Indians first inhabited and that Black folks, Africans, had made.1 I was born to a land thick with Spanish moss and swamp, cypress and live oak, and, in its day, slavery and many a rice field....

Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-4

Heel–Toe

The Blackened Alphabet

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p. 7-7

Irons at Her Feet

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pp. 8-9

Yellow Jaundice

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pp. 10-14

The Goodfellows Club

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pp. 15-23

Cotton Tea

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pp. 24-25

Harry and Jainey

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pp. 26-30

Understudies

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pp. 31-38

My Centipeding Self

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pp. 39-41

Making Foots

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pp. 42-44

Lightkeeper

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pp. 45-46

In South Carolina: Where Black Schoolmarms Sleep

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pp. 47-50

Black Orion

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pp. 51-53

“God Ain’t Makin ’ No More Land”

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pp. 54-62

Thresh

The Afterbirth, 1931

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pp. 65-71

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

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pp. 72-73

The Sound of Burning Hair

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pp. 74-76

Dinosaur

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pp. 77-79

Pluck

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pp. 80-86

The Devil Is Beating His Wife

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pp. 87-90

Eskimo

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pp. 91-93

Acquanetta of Hollywood

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pp. 94-101

I Have Been Somewhere

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p. 102-102

The Butt of the Joke

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pp. 103-108

South Africa: When a Woman Is a Rock

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pp. 109-111

The Ostrich

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p. 112-112

Brown Country

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pp. 113-120

He Never Had It Made

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pp. 121-126

Winnow

The Turtle Ball

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pp. 129-133

Tenderheaded

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pp. 134-137

Living On What

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pp. 138-139

Mae/I

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pp. 140-143

Love Marrow 3

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pp. 144-145

Mute

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pp. 146-147

Permittable Thunder

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pp. 148-156

The Vertigo

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pp. 157-163

The Mapmaker

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pp. 164-165

The Savoy, 1926

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pp. 166-171

Daguerre of Negras

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pp. 172-175

Woman Holdin’ Up All Deeze Folks

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pp. 176-179

Rule Number One

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pp. 180-181

The End of It

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pp. 182-183

A Woman with Keys

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pp. 184-185

The Rice

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pp. 186-188

List of Photographs

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pp. 189-190

Further Reading

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pp. 191-192


E-ISBN-13: 9780810167179
E-ISBN-10: 0810167174
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810152328
Print-ISBN-10: 0810152320

Page Count: 210
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth

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