From Publishers Weekly
In the late 1960s, Giovanni emerged as one of the youngest and most controversial poets of the Black Arts Movement. She would go on to broaden her influence as an essayist, teacher, lecturer and activist. The poetry collected in this volume is arranged chronologically, gathering work from her first book, Black Feeling Black Talk (1968) to the present. The poems touch on themes and events of the last four decades of the nation's history. "His headstone said/ FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST/ But death is a slave's freedom/ We seek the freedom of free men/ And the construction of a world/ Where Martin Luther King could have lived/ and preached non-violence" is "The Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr" in its entirety. Giovanni's work is also deeply subjective: "I wrote a good omelet ...and ate a hot poem.../ after loving you." Springing from a strong commitment to African and African-American oral tradition, her voice is fierce, resilient, often celebratory and rooted in the vernacular of her community, whether she speaks as African American, woman, mother, writer or lover.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
One of the most popular and influential poets of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Giovanni was raised in Knoxville and Cincinnati but made a name for herself in New York City by drawing a standing-room-only crowd to her first poetry reading at the jazz club Birdland in 1969. A genius at self-promotion whose work struck a responsive chord with blacks and whites, she was able to sell 10,000 copies of her first book, Black Feeling, Black Talk (1968)?a self-published volume?in less than a year. She has been, at times, a controversial political figure?she opposed the boycott of South Africa during the 1980s, for instance?and has continued to make a name for herself with public and TV appearances, numerous volumes of poetry, prose, and children's verse, and as a teacher and doyenne of the literary world. Her distinctive lower-case "I" ("sometimes/ when i wake up/ in the morning/ and see all the faces/ i just can't/ breathe") is a recognizable trademark, and her poems have been a potent force for young and old. For most collections.?Ellen Kaufman, Gallery Lib., Smithsonian Inst., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.