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Tears for Water: Songbook of Poems & Lyrics Hardcover – November 4, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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The Daughter of Union County
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

No doubt Keys has a fascinating story to tell—raised by a single mother, she's a classically trained, New York born-and-bred neo-soulster with two multiplatinum albums and five Grammys to her name—but she merely hints at it in this gathering of poems and lyrics. With their themes of loneliness, confusion, wonder and desire, most of Keys's free-verse poems could be the cris de coeur of any American 20-something: "Sometimes I feel/ like I don't belong anywhere/ And it's going to take so long/ for me to get somewhere/ Sometimes I feel so heavy-hearted/ but I can't explain/ cause I'm so guarded." But other poems hint at her world travels, her budding sense of social justice and her concerns about stardom ("When gone is the glory/ When gone is the shine/ Is gone the whole/ Of your fortune and pride?"). Nearly half of the book consists of lyrics from her two albums, Songs in A Minor and The Diary of Alicia Keys; while they make a nice complement to the poems, the words feel a bit flat without the blaxploitation beat of "Heartburn," say, or the impassioned vocal delivery of "Fallin.' " For the Keys completist, however, this will be a compelling book of rock ephemera.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Keys has sold millions of copies of her CDs and has won multiple Grammy Awards. Here, she shares the lyrics from these discs, as well as a collection of poems from her journals and notebooks. After several of the poems, she offers readers glimpses of her mindset and inspiration for her writings. Sadly, these poems read like what they are–journal entries from a young woman–and they don't have great insight or clever wordplay. (There's no "moon/June" here, but there is "cry/die" and "cry/goodbye" and "cry/fly.") Even her song lyrics, so powerful when accompanied with lush piano arrangements, come across as banal when unadorned with instrumentation. However, both their creator and their subject matter will give these simple selections immense appeal with a teen audience. The writer talks about insecurities, personal growth, loneliness, and love–good, bad, long-distance, and unrequited. These topics are the stuff of creative writing projects. Like Ashanti's Foolish/Unfoolish (Hyperion, 2002), Keys's poems will attract her fans and perhaps encourage them to explore poetry.–Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1st edition (November 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399152571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399152573
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am an Alicia Keys fan. I love this girl, so I was VERY excited when this book came out. However, her poetry is of the level of things I was writing about when I was 13. The thoughts are often shallow musings pretending to be deep. "Something in your eyes/Is tortured", sounds almost promising, right? Then she continues on with "something is wrong (ya think?)/And it's hurting me." DAMN, Alicia, you had me thinking I would get some deep thoughts for a second there. The metaphors she uses are often trite and some just plain don't work. Also, it's great to have the lyrics to her songs in book form, but without her delivery and fiery piano playing, these lyrics lose their luster. Alicia has writing of greater caliber than this in her head, for proof just check some of her "journal" entries at her official site. I don't know what went wrong with this book. At least it wasn't as bad as T-Boz''s "Thoughts".
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Format: Hardcover
I have been looking forward to the release of this book, and I have to say that I was one of the first people in the bookstore when this book came out. It was WELL worth the wait. You can really relate to and feel all the emotion that Alicia put into her poems and lyrics. With the explainations of what she was going through at the time and the way she put her words together, you almost feel as if you are there with her. This book is worth every penny I paid for it. This book grabs you in right at the introduction. In this book, she lets you into her most personal and private thoughts & feelings. You think you know, but you have no idea... This is the real Diary of Alicia Keys.

As soon as you finish reading this review, add this book to your cart, and click "buy".
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Format: Hardcover
Many have enjoyed the lyrical stylings of R&B songbird Alicia Keys, making her a Diamond Disc recording artist. Reaching such an accomplishment in the music industry, an artist has earned the love and attention of a large fan base. In return, Alicia has given those fans an intimate look at her innermost thoughts and feelings through her poetry in TEARS FOR WATER.

The intimate collection displays her feelings of loneliness and confusion on her road to stardom, and her feelings against social injustice, something that she has witnessed firsthand and read about in history books. She also writes of her world travels, places that her voice has taken her and the beauty she has discovered while there. After certain selections Alicia has notes giving her motivation for the written piece, which I found engaging.

I enjoyed the collection because it gave me a closer, more endearing look at the person and not just the artist. I was disappointed in the collection because it did not hold as much depth as her musical lyrics, which is what made me a fan in the first place. I expected her poetry to touch me as her songs have, but they fell short. I felt that she only scratched the surface of what she is really capable of producing, which is why I will continue to support her endeavors.

Reviewed by Aiesha Flowers

of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
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Format: Hardcover
I THOUGHT ALICIA'S BOOK WAS WONDERFUL IT DEALT WITH A LOT OF THINGS THAT I FELT THAT WE BOTH RELATED TOO. HER POEMS WERE REALITY. IT WAS EXCELLENT!!!! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK ALICIA.

I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE THAT IS NOT CLOSED MINDED AND VERY OPEN TO AN DIFFERENT SIDE TO AN ARTIST. IT WAS NICE OF HER TO LETT US IN MIND. :)
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Format: Hardcover
Alicia Keys is the best female artist out there today. She is pure talent. She's not like most female artists that shake their butts with little to nothing on to sell records. She doesn't try to be something she's not and she does so much to help those in need. She's so deep and everything in this book and writes about in general I think everyone can relate to. And for the record, Beyonce can't hold a match to Alicia. Alicia blows Beyonce out the water.
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Format: Hardcover
I wasn't really a big Alicia Keys fan when she came out back in 2001 but when I seen her last year in concert she blew me away & I start getting more into her..She is very talented however I felt like her book could have been better..Even tho I haven't finished reading the whole thing from what I have read her poems seem to be okay..Its nothing special about them in my opinion..Like when I'm reading something I expect to feel what the person is going through reading Alicia's poems I didn't feel that..Her poems are good & shes a great writer just expected a lil more from this book & I still don't get why she put her lyrics from both of her albums in the book that just didn't make sense to me, but buy it if you choose its not a bad book just not really to exciting either overall I give it 4 stars..
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By Gman2 on September 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Keys has always come across as being real; there is no fakeness in her.
This book is a perfect example of why I form this opinion of her.

Gary Lloyd James, Author of UNTIED FEELINGS that contains poems such as...

A Woman's Tears

To all women in abusive relationships

The tears she shed were not in vain
There lying on the floor with her dress
Blood stained. Thinking about the pain, the
Pain that was inflicted because she complained.

With her back against the
Wall, she waits for others opinions,
about why she is lying there, curled up
in a fetal position.

When she speaks, she speaks with caution
because she fears her words may cause
confusion, in making a decision.

Whether or not to stay married to this man
this man that said for him, she was the woman
The Queen, the Nubian, the African.
Then why does she cry those tears?

Is it because she fears his breath,
pungent with beer?
Fear his hand across her face, as she lies
there in that small dark space
without a way to erase,
the pain, that caused those tears.
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