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This substantial eighth collection from the former U.S. poet laureate recaps almost all of Dove's various projects and roles. The Ohio-born, Virginia-based poet made her name (and landed a Pulitzer Prize) with the sparsely wrought storytelling verse of Thomas and Beulah (1986). Dove displays her vivid narrative gifts and the formal versatility that enables them in "Not Welcome Here," a sequence about black American soldiers (and soldier-musicians) in the First World War; the sequence may be her strongest work in 10 years. Dove's public presence as laureate and educator—highlighted in On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999)—informs the very accessible short poems that begin and end the volume, some of them based on dance steps or musical forms ("Fox Trot," "Lullaby," blues); several may be intended for young audiences ("Count to Ten and We'll Be There"). Short-lined poems such as "Soprano," meanwhile, revive the gift for freestanding, magazine-friendly lyric Dove showed in Grace Notes (1989), while work addressed to her daughter recalls Dove's previous depictions of mothers in myth (the Demeter and Persephone of Mother Love) and autobiographical fact. Though she claims (in "Brown"), "I prefer grand entrances," her most attractive work has been terse and subtle, almost photographic in its poise and reserve, never saying more than she means: the best of her new work returns to those familiar virtues.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Pulitzer Prize winner and poet laureate Rita Dove is a formidable writer, so one expects if not a brilliant, at least a compelling twelfth poetry collection, and she does not disappoint. American Smooth is aptly titled since the book is infused with dance rhythms, and swings between historical and personal portraits of various Americans, from the "Great War's negro soldiers" to jazz musicians and a young girl from Harlem. Dove uses her highly eclectic interests, her sharp intellect, and her understanding of history and individuals to deliver a collection that speaks through many voices and covers a broad range of thoughts and emotions. She has the uncanny ability to distill things down to an essential idea like desire, flight, or body versus mind. But make no mistake; she is not hooked on abstraction. Dove deftly uses ideas as the springboard for plunging into feelings and experiences in a search for the individual stories that reveal greater universal truths. Janet St. John
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
It came as promised. I had just gotten the Penguin anthology that she edited and had seen her on Bill Moyer. I had heard some poems from this book and wanted to read them again.Published on March 25, 2012 by Jason Brown
If ever there were the slightest doubt as to why Rita Dove is a former Poet Laureate, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and lots of other great things for a poet (particularly a poet these... Read morePublished on May 6, 2007 by Stephen Richmond
The book was ok it wasn't the best book i've ever read. I would say the book can put you to sleep a little. Read morePublished on August 1, 2006