Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan

Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan

by June Jordan
     
 

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Directed by Desire . . . is a powerful addition to the entire canon of American poetry.”—Booklist

Now in paperback, Directed by Desire is the definitive overview of June Jordan’s -poetry. Collecting the finest work from Jordan’s ten volumes, as well as dozens of “last poems” that were never

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Overview

Directed by Desire . . . is a powerful addition to the entire canon of American poetry.”—Booklist

Now in paperback, Directed by Desire is the definitive overview of June Jordan’s -poetry. Collecting the finest work from Jordan’s ten volumes, as well as dozens of “last poems” that were never published in Jordan’s lifetime, these more than six hundred pages overflow with intimate lyricism, elegance, fury, meditative solos, and dazzling vernacular riffs.

As Adrienne Rich writes in her introduction, June Jordan “wanted her readers, listeners, students, to feel their own latent power—of the word, the deed, of their own beauty and intrinsic value.”

From “These Poems”:

These poems
they are things that I do
in the dark
reaching for you
whoever you are
and
are you ready?

The cloth edition of Directed by Desire was selected as a Library Journal Poetry Book of the Year and received the Lambda Book Award for Lesbian Poetry.

June Jordan taught at UC Berkeley for many years and founded Poetry for the People. Her twenty-eight books include poetry, essays, fiction, and children’s books. She was a regular columnist for The Progressive and a prolific writer whose articles appeared in The Village Voice, The New York Times, Ms. Magazine, and The Nation. After her death in 2002, a school in the San Francisco School District was renamed in her honor.

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Editorial Reviews

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 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A multi-award-winning author of essays, plays, fiction, and children's books as well as poetry, Jordan died in 2002 of breast cancer. Remarkably, this hefty collection (clocking in at over 600 pages) doesn't include all of her poetry. But it does present the best of every book she published since launching her career in the Sixties, and it ably reveals why Alice Walker says this witness to the African American experience "makes us think of Akhmatova, of Neruda." Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619320802
Publisher:
Copper Canyon Press
Publication date:
12/28/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
640
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

June Jordan was born in Harlem. Her twenty-eight books include poetry, essays, and children's books. A beloved teacher and exuberant activist, she founded Poetry For the People, and was a regular columnist for The Progressive and a prolific writer whose articles appeared in The Village Voice, The New York Times, Ms., and Essence. She died of breast cancer in 2002.

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