Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Head Off & Split: Poems Paperback – January 27, 2011
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
--Bruce Weigl, author of What Saves Us
--Kwame Dawes, author of Hope's Hospice
About the Author
Nikky Finney was born at the rim of the Atlantic Ocean, in South Carolina, in 1957. The daughter of activists and educators, she began writing in the midst of the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movements. With these instrumental eras circling her, Finney's work provides first-person literary accounts to some of the most important events in American history.
In 1985, and at the age of 26, Finney's debut collection of poetry, On Wings Made of Gauze, was published by William Morrow (a division of HaperCollins). Finney's next full-length collection of poetry and portraits, RICE (Sister Vision Press, 1995), was awarded the PEN America-Open Book Award, which was followed by a collection of short stories entitled Heartwood (University Press of Kentucky, 1998). Her next full-length poetry collection, The World Is Round (Inner Light Books, 2003) was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Award sponsored by the Independent Booksellers Association. In 2007, Finney edited the anthology, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (University of Georgia Press/Cave Canem), which has become an essential compilation of contemporary African American writers. Her fourth full-length collection of poetry, Head Off & Split, is a National Book Award Winner.
Finney and her work have been featured on Russell Simmons DEF Poetry (HBO series), renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson's feature The Meaning of Food (a PBS production) and National Public Radio. Her work has been praised by Walter Mosley, Nikki Giovanni, Gloria Naylor and the late CBS/60 Minutes news anchor Ed Bradley. Finney has held distinguished posts at Berea College as the Goode Chair in the Humanities and Smith College as the Grace Hazard Conklin Writer-in-Residence.
Finney is currently a Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University Kentucky. She is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets
Top Customer Reviews
This is a volume of poetry that exposes the tender personal sensitivities of the poet as well as the raw edges of the outside world of history and society. With the music of an exquisite language that rolls around your mouth and in your mind, Finney reveals deeply touching, private emotions and at the same time expresses keen social observations, both with an accomplished storyteller's lyricism, a gifted poet's metaphors, and an engaging wordsmith`s eloquence.
Head Off & Split: Poems has a visceral power which is both incidental and intrinsic to the African American experience. With tough minded admissions and gentle refusals, Nikky Finney's versification propels us from one line to the next, sharing meditative personal experiences, expansive social commentary, honest historical insight, and the sensuality of the living world as she feels it.
The following verses are favorites of mine and come from her poem for Rosa Parks- "Red Velvet" :
You cannot keep messing with a sweet-looking
Black woman who knows her way around velvet.Read more ›
Kudos to my alma mater and its press for publishing this great book.
Though not my favorite book of contemporary poetry from the last five years, Head Off & Split examines such variable aspects of family life and sexuality that it's impossible to undercut its awareness of its writer's identity. Political poems are far from my favorite, and I could well do without the Condoleeza suite, but Nikky Finney knows who she is as a poet and a person, and the book shows it.
The first movement is history and comment, all very transparent, though allusions to former Vice President Dan Quayle's spelling embarrassment might be lost on younger readers. I enjoy her politics. "The Condoleezza Suite" is a kind of Mahler-like inset to the structure
The middle movement is full of tumbling images, tumultuous feelings of love and longing, and bold abstraction. These poems all see very personal and active. The section has the very appropriate subtitle THE HEAD - OVER - HEELS.
The final section collects longer poems with longer lines. The whole set of poems ends powerfully with a restatement of the title theme.
The edition I received has Ms. Finney's Acceptance Speech for the National Book Award for Poetry. The moderator of the awards program, John Lithgow, said of her speech, "That was the best acceptance speech I have heard anywhere." (The speech and Lithgow's remarks are available on the web.) I am happy that the speech is included. It is a kind of encore.
As a result of reading HEAD OFF & SPLIT, I ordered RICE. I received it today, and while I have not read it, I can say that Sistor Vision Press did an beautiful job of producing it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Head Off & Split is a passionate collection of poems from beginning to end. History, politics and the human spirit are laced in each of her poems. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rebeca Lucret
I did not enjoy this book.I heard it reviewed on NPR and thought some of the poems read on air were intriguing.Published on April 30, 2014 by Lynda
Ms. Finney so gracefully title this collection of poetry. Her work in this book is a continuing wonderful trek of thought provoking poems.Published on March 21, 2014 by Robert L. Miller, Jr.
I love it, it looks fantastic! Thanks so much for selling this, I really didn't want to have to pay the University's prices.Published on January 23, 2014 by Brandi
Finney has created some powerful, and sometimes, humorous, images of family and race relations. She hits the mark with a few beautiful words.Published on December 9, 2013 by log
A powerful collection of poems that left me breathless and achy with every line. Finney's language is gorgeous and raw, and I was changed by this book. An absolute favorite.Published on September 13, 2013 by Andi Cumbo-Floyd
A Great read! It's Word Art. What's another word for poetic? Graceful! The nice thing about a great book of poems is that you can read them over and over forever and ever.Published on August 12, 2013 by Wanda Stansbury