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a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series) Paperback – August 20, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


"In a half-red sea, Evie Shockley is 'dreaming the lives of the ancestors.' Navigating against prevailing currents, these poems sail on eddy and backflow, taking inspiration from knots and twists of American history and culture. Whether improvising between the lines of a slave narrative in 'henry bibb considers love and livery,' amplifying Lady Day's most devastating blues in 'you can say that again, billie,' or going freestyle with 'double bop for ntozake shange,' Shockley's imagination travels every which away. In 'a thousand words' and other reflections on contemporary events, Shockley's firm grounding in history adds weight and depth to her observations of the recent past and present. --Harryette Mullen, Advance Reader

"Evie Shockley gives us, beautifully, the sound of justice, the voice of *aware* (Afro) America, and the soul music of consciousness. In these napologetically excellent, astonishingly sensual, whimsically political, and fiercely personal poems, Shockley uses the moral clarity of history to reveal how foolish we become when we forget our roots. Herein Phillis Wheatley seems to upbraid Condoleeza Rice, while Harriet Tubman upholds Anita Hill. The poet herself forges culture out of pop culture and a family out of diaspora. You may hear, in the margins here, a touch of Robert Hayden and Ishmael Reed, a lick of Lucille Clifton and Ntozake Shange. That's just homage: Shockley be an awesome power in her own right. Read these poems and go, 'Damn!'" --George Elliott Clarke, Advance Reader

"Evie Shockley isn't waiting for the waters to part; her words work their own miracles. Read them and feel free. Read them, too, and beware: the world is wicked. As the poet says, evil is clever. But Evie is more clever. The very forms of her poems are a whack back at fate. Their sounds unshackle us. Egypt to the right, Cannan ahead,-each line speaks a bridge into being." --Joseph Donahue, Advance Reader

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