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The Green Piano: Poems Paperback – April 30, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1574232073 ISBN-10: 157423207X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 127 pages
  • Publisher: Black Sparrow Press (April 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157423207X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574232073
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,482,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author of 14 books of poems, including the selected Mad Dogs of Trieste (2000), Vega is the director of Incisions/Arts, a program that brings writers into prisons to lead poetry workshops. Some of the poems in this volume were written at the Eastern Correctional Facility in Napanoch, New York: they have the immediacy and directness of lineated prose, as in a poem on so-called "Driving While Black" legislation: "Police/ largely/ oppose the bill/ insisting it would/ create an undue burden/ on law enforcement officers/ and wouldn't necessarily prove a thing." Other poems meditate on relationships, writerly and otherwise, or take stock of a difficult writing life (one ends: "I ain't dead yet"). This book doesn't contain Vega's strongest work, but it serves as kind of poetic diary of justice and of witness as sought through language. In a poem from the title section, which ends the book, the speaker sums up the scale at which it happens: "I'm reading your poems/ and a huge ramshackle building appears, the light from a hundred candles/ spills out on the snow."
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"Honest, passionate, and exhilarating, Janine Pommy Vega brings her own voice to the Beat pilgrimage. She is changed by her journey through the world, and she changes the world through her words." --American Book Review

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bob Arnold on October 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
With The Green Piano, Janine Pommy Vega (Godine) has realized and written her finest book of poems. Forty years in the making. And every single poem and book since her first book with City Lights, Songs to Fernando (1968) has been an absolute contribution to a long life lived of many lovely books, each written with the heart of someone (you?) on the poet's sleeve. Calling a book "the finest" isn't meant to diminish the trail behind the poet; the trail is there, made by Janine and with many others she forever in the day wishes to acknowledge and uphold: whether stuck in prison where she has worked tirelessly since a young woman, poems as a citizen against the State, poems to the downcast and shadowed, the lovers (all becomes love), family homage, and the luxury of her poems from new and old Europe. If Janine's been there, anywhere, you'll know she might have a poem and you will want to hear it. Don't wait until she is gone and you can then say, I heard she was famous.  She's famous now. I said so.


I learned a hundred lessons

in the garden


deeper was the first

the least little root

of Jerusalem artichoke

carries a sturdy new

plant into April

like the vaguest hope for

a friend

buried, like a sliver of moon

in the heart in spring

there are hundreds of sun chokes

take more than you need

give them to people you've

never seen

look for me

in the garden laughing

and crying at once.

                                      Willow, New York, May 1999

Bob Arnold - poet; editor & publisher of Longhouse
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If there is any question that the Beat women writers have been cruelly overlooked and ignored, the answer comes here. I'm guilty! How could I have missed this wonderful writer's songs? There's a wonderful tribute to Gregory Corso here, a superb tribute that transcends Gregory's impossible to get along, but she did, as the beats did, forgive and forgive each other and get along despite. If anyone has had the pleasure and pain of teaching writing in the prisons (I've done a little), her poems on her experience will move you and make you see what needs to be seen--and she has the courage to say it against the most raw power of the state. What service she gave inside the belly of the beast. The tributes to friends, the communion with nature in her rural place---but now she is gone, lovingly cared for by Andy Clausen the last decade of her life as this great hiker of the world dealt with arthritis. She was a wonderful performer. Enjoy the work of this unique woman!
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