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As fierce in her activist life as in her passionate verse, Jordan (1936–2002) first rose to fame in the early '70s with declamatory poems and series inspired by African-American vernacular: "Who look at me?" her first series demanded; "I am black alive and looking back at you." A flexible metrical sense, and an undercurrent of humor, set her best work apart from her performance-oriented peers early on; Jordan later expanded her range with travel (in a series of poems about life in Rome), with persona poems and satire ("Directions for Carrying Explosive Nuclear Waste Through Metropolitan New York"; "The Beirut Jokebook") During the '80s, Jordan (Naming Our Destiny) often focused on international struggles, praising revolutionaries and peace activists in Cuba, Angola, Nicaragua and Israel/Palestine, and excoriating American militarism and racism. She later became a professor at the University of California–Berkeley, assembling an influential book on the teaching of poetry (June Jordan's Poetry for the People: A Revolutionary Blueprint) and a widely noticed memoir, Soldier: A Poet's Childhood (2000). This ample collection concludes with 62 pages of "last poems": several concern the cancer that took Jordan's life, and one of the best sasses back at Eminem. Adrienne Rich's foreword praises this "most personal of political poets" for her verbal power and for her commitment to justice: her loyal following will certainly agree. (Oct.)
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June Jordan was a revolutionary poet and extraordinarily prolific writer right up to her death in 2002. This substantial collected volume is just a sampling of her poetry from 1969 to 2001, but it does present the warrior voice and vision of a writer dedicated to criticizing inequity of all kinds, and confidently revealing the path of her desires. With an apt foreword by sister poet Adrienne Rich, this collection is a must-read for those wanting to learn and be transformed by Jordan's opinions and impressions, not only on those causes close to her personal experience, but on injustices worldwide, from South Africa to Kosovo. Wherever people were silenced, cruelties concealed, or lies promoted, Jordan shouted out, exposing what needed to be seen. Her poems also consistently display a loving devotion to black English and pride in her femininity, race, and individuality. Directed by Desire is an important addition to African American or feminist poetry collections, but more importantly, it is a powerful addition to the entire canon of American poetry. Janet St. John
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I could read June Jordan all day, and with this complete collection of her poems, I can!Published 7 months ago by Shopper