Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems

( 4 )

Overview


“Though we have encountered our share of grief and troubles on this earth, we can still hold the line of beauty, form, and beat. No small accomplishment in a world as challenging as this one.”
— from the preface

I was born to grow,
alongside my garden of plants,
poems
like
this one

So writes Alice Walker in this new book of poems, poems ...

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Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems

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Overview


“Though we have encountered our share of grief and troubles on this earth, we can still hold the line of beauty, form, and beat. No small accomplishment in a world as challenging as this one.”
— from the preface

I was born to grow,
alongside my garden of plants,
poems
like
this one

So writes Alice Walker in this new book of poems, poems composed over the course of one year in response to joy and sorrow both personal and global: the death of loved ones, war, the deliciousness of love, environmental devastation, the sorrow of rejection, greed, poverty, and the sweetness of home. The poems embrace our connections while celebrating the joy of individuality, the power we each share to express our truest, deepest selves. Beloved for her ability to speak her own truth in ways that speak for and about countless others, she demonstrates that we are stronger than our circumstances. As she confronts personal and collective challenges, her words dance, sing, and heal.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise." Alice Walker's declaration might be the motto of her poetry, which never seems to settle into numbing patterns of sense or rhythm. Reflecting its title, this collection of recent poetry displays once again the breadth of the talents of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple.
Publishers Weekly
Walker is of course well known as the author of the novel The Color Purple as well as other works of prose, but she has also published books of poetry throughout her career. Her poetic goals are more inspirational than literary. Poetry is, for her, a place to "share losses, health concerns, and other challenges common to the human condition," as she says in her preface; it is also a place to help heal those wounds. In narrow free verse, often with a single word on a line, Walker asks pertinent questions, such as, in "Watching You Hold Your Hatred," "Isn't it/ slippery?/ might you/ not/ someday/ drop it/ on/ yourself?" She also merges the personal and the political ("You'd be surprised/ to find/ how cleansing/ it feels/ to depose/ a/ dictator:/ There she is/ anticipating your/ every wish"); addresses a "Woman/ of color/ lighting up/ the/ dark"; and describes how love "is embedded in us,/ like seams of gold in the Earth." Walker's many fans won't be disappointed by this book. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

“[These poems] grow as naturally on the page as grass and flowers, yet never try to conceal a terrain of early graves, emotional land mines, and levies of sorrow.”
Gloria Steinem

“A lifeboat in a storm, warm soup in the mouth, a rhumba in the streets of the heart.”
Jack Kornfield

“These are powerful anthems of womanhood and age, although just as likely to be empowering to men and to the not-yet-old.”
Booklist

“Walker’s many fans won’t be disappointed by this book.”
Publishers Weekly

“The poems sing of joy and pain, loss and grief, love and transformation, with results that are redemptive.…Highly recommended for all readers of contemporary poetry and for anyone interested in African American literature.”
Library Journal

Library Journal
Love, if it is love, never goes away./ It is embedded in us,/ like seams of gold in the Earth,/ waiting for light,/ waiting to be struck." As we can see, in the veins of Walker's poems optimism runs as deeply, as surely, as those seams of gold. Much like her earlier work (e.g., Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth), most of these sparse, lyrical poems are written in short, one- or two-word lines, quick and halting at once, every thought emphasized, resonating. The poems sing of joy and pain, loss and grief, love and transformation, with results that are redemptive. They address family turmoil and the violence and struggles of the outside world, working to unknot the inner tensions that those issues would engender: "This we know:/ We were/ not meant/ to suffer/ so much,/ & to learn/ nothing." There is much to be learned in confrontation, and Walker's poems bring us with her to resolution and, often enough, to a serene place. As she reminds us in her preface: "Hard times require furious dancing. Each of us is the proof." VERDICT Highly recommended for all readers of contemporary poetry and for anyone interested in African American literature.—Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781577319306
  • Publisher: New World Library
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 823,942
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author


Alice Walker is known around the world for her fiction, poetry, essays, and human rights activism. She was honored with the 2010 Lennon Ono Grant for Peace and has been inducted into the California Hall of Fame. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Biography

Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her novel The Color Purple, which was preceded by The Third Life of Grange Copeland and Meridian. Her other bestselling novels include By the Light of My Father's Smile, Possessing the Secret of Joy and The Temple of My Familiar. She is also the author of two collections of short stories, three collections of essays, five volumes of poetry and several children's books. Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages. Born in Eatonton, Georgia, Walker now lives in Northern California.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Alice Malsenior Walker (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Mendocino, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 9, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Eatonton, Georgia
    1. Education:
      B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1965; attended Spelman College, 1961-63

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    One of my Favorite Books

    I love every word.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 30, 2010

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