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Black Life Paperback


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Black Life + Thunderbird (Wave Books) + Awe
Price for all three: $38.30

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  • Thunderbird (Wave Books) $13.16
  • Awe $12.54

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 77 pages
  • Publisher: Wave Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933517433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933517438
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

All poetry that matters today has feelings in it, says Lasky deep into her second book, which illustrates how that statement can be true of poems that are also hip and ironic. Though cut of the same cloth as her debut, Awe, this second book is more grown up, darker, burdened with greater weight and responsibility—though still full of flippant, adorable, and silly asides: The orderly staff waits with the bleach/ Asking me where the diapers are, I do not know, she remarks in a poem about a father's failing battle with Alzheimer's disease. The death of a father and the loss of a husband come up again and again. Religious faith is also a frequent subject, handled in the same quirky, faux-childish voice as everything else in Lasky's world: There is only Jesus waiting in my closet/ Like he has been since I was 4 with his red eyes. If these poems, cast in ragged columns and haphazard lines, often seem dashed off, that's part of the point: they surge with immediacy, meaning and not meaning what they say: There is a lot to be sad about/ But no point in feeling that sadness/ In a world that has no capacity/ To take your sadness from you in a kind way. (Apr.)
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Review

"If these poems, cast in ragged columns and haphazard lines, often seem dashed off, that's part of the point: they surge with immediacy, meaning and not meaning what they say."—Publishers Weekly

"Through her specific, strange, and always riveting voice, Lasky reveals truths about the self in relation to all that inspires awe, be it a sexual relationship and its unraveling or metaphysical confrontations with holiness. These poems read as prophetic and yet incredibly immediate."—American Poet

"Balancing a ferocious confessional poetry with her trademark levity and playfulness, Lasky examines the dark undercurrents of what it means to exist with an uncertain expiration date, the very sadness and strangeness of humanity."—Rain Taxi

More About the Author

Dorothea Lasky is the author of four full-length collections of poetry: Rome (Liveright/W.W. Norton) and Thunderbird, Black Life, and AWE, all out from Wave Books. She is also the author of several chapbooks, including Poetry is Not a Project (Ugly Ducking Presse, 2010). Born in St. Louis in 1978, her poems have appeared in POETRY, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Columbia Poetry Review, and Boston Review, among others. She is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, holds a doctorate in creativity and education from the University of Pennsylvania, and also has been educated at Harvard University and Washington University. She has taught poetry at New York University, Wesleyan University, and Bennington College. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Columbia University's School of the Arts and lives in Brooklyn.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Ricardo Bartee on June 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
A wonderful review about the black struggle. Her work is incredible and I loved every minute of it. I also bought her first book Awe. I have yet to get to it but I know it will also be great. Glad to see our stories being told. And told so well.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amy Henry TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Dorothea Lasky's new book, Black Life, brims with the chaos of real life and real people fighting to express themselves when shiny and happy words aren't sufficient. A unifying component of the poems is frequent references to her father's battle with dementia, and sprinkled among these are tiny images, made all the more terrifying for their brevity: helpless rest home patients with bald baby heads being beaten by staff. Fire as both purifier and destroyer also makes appearances in unexpected contexts.

Talking about life, she twists around the state of health into the dimensions of inner and outer well-being, with the two often in fierce juxtaposition. She muses on Emily Dickinson's muse, on anorexia, and refers to pop culture as freely as old boyfriends and husbands. Her voice alters from that of a hyperactive teen to a stalker to an overly-kind ghost. In all of it, she is seldom quiet or sedate.

In frequent references to poetry, she contrasts the kinds of poetry that exist: pretty and intangible or ugly and real. Therein, she makes it appear that it would be worse to be ignored than blasphemed, and that flowery prose often hides an uncertain intent. From "I Am a Politician",

I am a politician

Just watch:

I will be very nice to you

But when I turn around I will write the creepiest poems about you that

Have ever been written.

Or worse yet,

I will write nothing about you at all

And will instead

Write about the water cascading endlessly in the ocean

Full of flowers and lovers at their very best...

She doesn't hide from revealing insecurity, such that her poems often appear inspired by it.
Read more ›
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By WEEATHERHEAD on July 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
What I Liked:

-It was funny sometimes
-It was self-referential sometimes
-It was surprisingly cohesive for a 'non-conceptual' book of poetry
-The cover
-The design/layout
-The physical dimensions of the book

What I Didn't Like:

-Sometimes there were grammatical/structural decisions that were a little confusing to me
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