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Ira Sadoffs new volume of poems opens with a quotation from Rilke: But because truly being here is so much; because everything here / apparently needs us, the fleeting world, which in some strange way / keeps calling us. . . .? The poetry collected here is a response to this call. _x000B_Rooted firmly in the fleeting world,? Sadoffs poems find epiphanies of meaning in unexpected and even unpleasant experiences and emotions. The poems in Barter delve deeply into the past, the personal past of regret, travel, love, divorce, and bereavement, as well as the global past of Beethoven, Vietnam, and the fall of communism. Each poem is offered up by Sadoff as a barter, something to be traded for a little more time, a little more understanding._x000B_The poems in Barter comment on the power of culture to interject itself into our desire for an idealized self, the way our inner and outer lives lack correspondence, harmony, and integration. They also talk about commerce, the trading of bodies, the way we as a nation use? and exchange and appropriate -- and like Tolstoys Ivan Ilyich, try to bargain with and evade the urgency of our time on earth._x000B_In the poem Self-Portrait with a Critic,? Sadoff makes what could be a succinct statement of purpose: And inside, lets not make it pretty, / lets save the off-rhyme and onomatopoeia / / for the concert hall, lets go to the wormy place / where the problematic stirs inside his head.?_x000B_
Ashuntantang is an extraordinary weaver of words who showcases vivid pictures that compete with 3D simulation. Her greatest asset is her use of the beautiful traditional Cameroonian anchor that evokes folk tales with its moonlight romance and glory. You feel, laugh, weep, shiver, wonder, and hail the triumphant spirit of the persona as it navigates African postcolonial and global experiences with the melancholy of an exile who is purposeful, strategic, and a lot of fun.
Bold, original and stimulating in its inspirational insights, A Basket of Kola Nuts explores Cameroonís cultures as remarkable pivots of moral rectitude and such sickening vicious-circles as bribery and corruption. Ethnically grass-rooted and globalizing rather than alarmingly exotic and exclusive, this poetic diction of form-content aims at revitalizing its material contents to sever it from extinction and revamp cultural values that break the patience of silence to question deviation rather than the concrete interface of cultural identities and differences. Uprightly appealing, this poetry gathers kola seeds that fall apart in crisis to invite readers world-wide to taste its kolaly aroma.
Beasts and Violins is a collection of American narrative poetry addressing themes of life and work in the western United States. The poems read like broken country songs sung from a paved farm: dead deer and train trips, a dog at the edge of the fire. Beasts and Violins begins with a dark birth and finishes at peace on the water, with the necessary stops in between.
The Beautiful Lesson of the I is a collection of finely made poems by an accomplished poet. It will reward the scholar and the student of poetry, as well as the reader looking for the simple pleasures of poetic insight authentically felt. Winner of the Swenson Poetry Award 2005. Now in paperback.
The world that Donald Revell ponders in these poems replete with contrarieties. The same verbal playfulness and prophetic lyricism that made Revell a 1992 Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry and a winner of National Poetry Series, Pushcart, and PEN Center USA West awards are in full force in Beautiful Shirt. Here he traverses the rocky terrain of innocence, memory, disillusion, and salvation in a voice at once haunted and elliptical: "This is the world as I have known it./ It has a soft outline and is easily victimized."
Juxtaposed within a trio of long, introspective poems are shorter lyrics that push the limits of poetic syntaxes and dictions. In all, Beautiful Shirt searches for the true nature of the self through language unfettered by narrative constraints and conventional conceptual identities.
In her first collection of poems, Kansas native Amy Fleury captures images of dragging clotheslines, baked lawns, and sweet potato babies, inserting them with an earnest dignity into her stories of midwestern life. Beautiful Trouble explores the subtleties of landscape, place, families, girlhood, womanhood, and everyday existence on the prairie. Fleury writes of the Midwest with authenticity, speaks of romance with delicate allure, and recalls the heartbreak of childhood without self-pity. In meditations on resilience and life’s contradictions, Fleury engages her characters fully and paints their souls and sensations evenly in language both rare and beautiful. She is a poet in love with sound and its power to summon majesty from quotidian scenes. Her poems are brief and striking, depending on exquisite word choice and balance to achieve a simple order on the page.
Recapturing the celebratory voice of Africa in poems that are both contemporary and traditional, Liberian-born Patricia Jabbeh Wesley weaves lyrical storytelling with oral history and images of Africa and America, revealing powerful insights about the relationship between strength and tragedy—and finding reason to celebrate even in the presence of war, difficulties, and death. Rooted in myths that can be traced to the Grebo tradition, Becoming Ebony portrays Liberian-born Wesley’s experiences of village talk and civil war as well as her experiences of the pain of her mother’s death and the difficulties of rearing a family away from home in the United States, and explores the questions of living in the African Diaspora. Turning on the African proverb of “the wandering child” and the metaphor of the ebony tree—which is beautiful in life and death— these poems delve into issues of human suffering and survival, plainly and beautifully chronicling what happens “after the sap is gone.”
There are worlds within our own in which even the smallest victories are hard won, the tender moment is almost unbearable, and the understated rings like a bell. Belonging, a new collection by British poet Dick Davis, is an extended visit to these worlds. Deepened by his dry wit and the formal rigor of his verse, the poems of Belonging negotiate their way among personal and political dividesâ€”generations in a family, man and woman, and the tentative present and our inherited pasts. But behind much of the writing there is also a desire for a kind of idealized belongingâ€”to a clerisy of civilized and humane decency which can be found intermittently in all cultures and is the monopoly of none. Davisâ€™s own cosmopolitan background provides the context for many of the poems, yet he is concerned always to Wnd the humanly universal within the local and anecdotalâ€”a hope realized in these careful and incandescent poems. â€œReading this book in manuscript, I began by jotting down the titles of the best poems, but gave that up when it seemed I might choose them all.â€?â€”Richard Wilbur Dick Davis is an Englishman who has lived for most of his adult life outside his own countryâ€”in Greece, Italy, Iran, and the United States. He is currently a professor of Persian at Ohio State University in Columbus and the author of several books of poetry and translations, including Touchwood and Borrowed Ware. What others say about this book: In Top 10 Poetry Selections for 2002! â€œHis poems are full of fine emotion, intelligence, wit, and multinational culture. He lithely celebrates the legendary rake Casanova; poignantly conjures â€œKiplingâ€™s Kim, Thirty Years Onâ€?; economically reports a fatherâ€™s aching futility in comforting his child (â€œA Bit of Paternityâ€?); deftly valorizes the power of art (â€œJust Soâ€?); and often muses on the shortness of life and the limitations of being human, so cogently that a single quatrain can take oneâ€™s breath away.â€?â€”The Booklist A Book of the Year 2002! â€œA British poet married to an Iranian, Dick Davis teaches Persian literature in the United States. The cultural diversity of his life is reflected in the variety of his poems â€”in their skillfully handled formal range, in the scope of their subject-matter and in their commitment to an ideal of civilized life shared by many cultures. Belonging is a profound and beautiful collection, which stimulates, dazzles, surprises and delights.â€?â€”The Economist â€œI want to go through Belonging quoting handfuls, learning poem after poem by heart. . . . To read Dick Davis is to be reminded of what poetry used to be, and can still become.â€? â€”X. J. Kennedy
An Anthology of African Love Poetry
From the ancient Egyptian inventors of the love lyric to contemporary poets, Bending the Bow: An Anthology of African Love Poetry gathers together both written and sung love poetry from Africa.
This anthology is a work of literary archaeology that lays bare a genre of African poetry that has been overshadowed by political poetry. Frank Chipasula has assembled a historically and geographically comprehensive wealth of African love poetry that spans more than three thousand years. By collecting a continent’s celebrations and explorations of the nature of love, he expands African literature into the sublime territory of the heart.
Bending the Bow traces the development of African love poetry from antiquity to modernity while establishing a cross-millennial dialogue. The anonymously written love poems from Pharaonic Egypt that open the anthology both predate Biblical love poetry and reveal the longevity of written love poetry in Africa. The middle section is devoted to sung love poetry from all regions of the continent. These great works serve as the foundation for modern poetry and testify to love poetry’s omnipresence in Africa. The final section, showcasing forty-eight modern African poets, celebrates the genre’s continuing vitality. Among those represented are Muyaka bin Hajji and Shaaban Robert, two major Swahili poets; Gabriel Okara, the innovative though underrated Nigerian poet; Léopold Sédar Senghor, the first president of Senegal and a founder of the Negritude Movement in francophone African literature; Rashidah Ismaili from Benin; Flavien Ranaivo from Madagascar; and Gabeba Baderoon from South Africa.
Ranging from the subtly suggestive to the openly erotic, this collection highlights love’s endurance in a world too often riven by contention. Bending the Bow bears testimony to poetry’s role as conciliator while opening up a new area of study for scholars and students.