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Hands Washing Water
     

Hands Washing Water

4.6 5
by Chris Abani
 

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“Chris Abani’s poetry resonates with a devastating beauty which cuts through to the heart of human strength.”—Pride

Hands Washing Water is Chris Abani's fourth poetry collection—a mischievous book of displacement, exile, ancestry, and subversive humor. The central section, “Buffalo Women,” is a

Overview

“Chris Abani’s poetry resonates with a devastating beauty which cuts through to the heart of human strength.”—Pride

Hands Washing Water is Chris Abani's fourth poetry collection—a mischievous book of displacement, exile, ancestry, and subversive humor. The central section, “Buffalo Women,” is a Civil War correspondence between lovers that plays on our assumptions about war, gender, morality, and politics.

Sweetest Henri,
I know we promised to be honest,
one to the other, but your recent missive,
though welcome as any epistle from you,
filled me with a dread that clung
like dampness to wet wood. I am terrified
for your immortal soul, dear sweet Henri.
This mad war of Lincoln is infecting you
with a sickness too depraved to even address. . .

Abani’s writing is ruthless, at times traumatic, and consistently filled with surprising twists and turns.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In Abani's fourth volume (after Dog Woman), he explores place and humor, exile and freedom with poems of experience and imagination. At the book's center is a series of epistolary poems, letters between two lovers, during the Civil War. Though these are set in the 1860s, their imagery might reflect current conflicts as they consider morality, politics, and gender: "There is something malevolent brewing/ in our very souls. A thing so heinous/ that should we wish to return from it, we could not/ devise a path home." In others, Abani uses humor with an often sardonic wit. In "Coleman," the narrator refers to a rumor that saxophonist Ornette Coleman was voluntarily castrated to improve his playing: "If Coleman had lived in the South,/ when black men garnished trees/ he would have got his operation for free-see?" With an abundance of music and language, Abani's poems examine injustice and liberation from it: "Even after the wounds have healed,/ I scratch around the phantom scab, avoiding/ what lies beneath." Some might argue that Abani enters the wound with a boldness that avoids nothing. Highly recommended.-Karla Huston, Appleton Art Ctr., WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781556592478
Publisher:
Copper Canyon Press
Publication date:
10/01/2006
Pages:
90
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.20(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author


Chris Abani was born in Nigeria in 1966 and published his first novel at sixteen. He has been imprisoned, tortured, and sentenced to death for his literary activities. After fleeing Nigeria he continued to write, and is the author of ten books of poetry and fiction. He teaches at UC Riverside.

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Hands Washing Water 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
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