From Publishers Weekly
Walker is of course well known as the author of the novel The Color Purple as well as other works of prose, but she has also published books of poetry throughout her career. Her poetic goals are more inspirational than literary. Poetry is, for her, a place to "share losses, health concerns, and other challenges common to the human condition," as she says in her preface; it is also a place to help heal those wounds. In narrow free verse, often with a single word on a line, Walker asks pertinent questions, such as, in "Watching You Hold Your Hatred," "Isn't it/ slippery?/ might you/ not/ someday/ drop it/ on/ yourself?" She also merges the personal and the political ("You'd be surprised/ to find/ how cleansing/ it feels/ to depose/ a/ dictator:/ There she is/ anticipating your/ every wish"); addresses a "Woman/ of color/ lighting up/ the/ dark"; and describes how love "is embedded in us,/ like seams of gold in the Earth." Walker's many fans won't be disappointed by this book. (Oct.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Since Walker’s The Color Purple appeared in 1982, she has remained one of America’s best-loved writers for the passion and purpose of her work. Her poetry, like her prose, is direct and sonorous. In this collection, she writes of loss and disappointment, and the strength that rises from meeting them unflinchingly. Many poems read like sermons, such as the one that charges us to “Wake up!” because “The world has changed. It did not change without…your determination to believe in liberation & kindness.” Walker embraces her uniqueness and accepts herself as human(e)ly fallible, singing of “flying though this existence as myself,” and of honoring “all the fierce edges I have made for myself.” She also accepts the failings of others, offering a wise openness to others’ pain and the pain it causes in turn: “Watching you hold your hatred for such a long time, I wonder: Isn’t it slippery? Might you not someday drop it upon yourself?” These are powerful anthems of womanhood and age, although just as likely to be empowering to men and to the not-yet-old. --Patricia Monaghan