- Paperback: 640 pages
- Publisher: Copper Canyon Press (June 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1556592345
- ISBN-13: 978-1556592348
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.7 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan Paperback – June 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.
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Top customer reviews
(and amazon wants ten (that is, 10) more words.
I checked this out from the library just thinking hey I've never heard of her so I'll give her a shot. I was hoping for the best but if I didn't like it, no harm done. Directed By Desire was on my Christmas List before my first day with it had ended. I stressed it. If I get it, it'll be the big gift. If I don't get it, it'll be what I buy the day after Christmas. As it stands now, I just pour over the library copy everyday. It's way too clean. Way too untouched. She has hit me like a hurricane. Based on the power of what is inside, this library copy should be tear-stained, dirty, battered and bruised.
I don't get all the poems inside. As a writer she was beyond me. As a human I'm sure she was beyond me. The ones I don't yet get... the ones I may never fully get... they don't hurt the book. The way Who Look At Me, The End of Kindness, Kissing God Goodbye, Poem Because the 1996 Poet Laureate..., First Poem After Serious Surgery, etc... get to me... man. June was amazing. Alot of what's inside this book has me wiping tears from my eyes and saying again and again, "How is she not everywhere? How is it possible to go through school without a teacher, an older student, someone's parents telling me "hey kid, you might dig this June Jordan woman!"? I'm disappointed in myself for not finding her earlier. I want her to be in your life.
So much of this is so personal. I don't mean personal in the oft heard "It's like she/he is saying what I wish I could say" sort of way. I mean there are poems where she's sitting 2 feet away from me, looking me right in the eyes and laying it all out in front of me with love. Or she's calling me out when I'm full of it. Some of you have been reading June's work since before I was born. I'll not pretend I know her the way you know her but for me, this book is huge. Even for you I'd say it's essential. It says the "Last Poems" were previously unpublished. I love many of those so for me, it'd be worth it even if I already owned everything else.
This woman was a Goddess among us. It's a shame she had to live in our ugly world, but she didn't run from any of it.
(2/9/08 edit - I got it for Christmas! It's even better when it's at your fingertips whenever you want it.)