Jordan ( Living Room ) concludes this volume--which offers poetry written during the past 30 years, including 43 previously uncollected poems--with ``War and Memory,'' a poem aptly summarizing her life: ``I fell in love with Black men White / men Black / women White women / and I / dared myself to say The Palestinians / and I / worried about unilateral words like Lesbian or Nationalist / and I / tried to speak Spanish when I travelled to Managua.'' She attempts to shoulder too many causes here, at times losing herself in rhetoric and politics that could benefit from a fuller discussion. However, in her best work, Jordan takes an infectious delight in language, playing with words to transform experience. She makes artful use of rhyme, and draws from slave ballads and blues music to protest the everyday human tribulations that otherwise might go unnoticed. The span of the book is also instructive, as we witness the author progressing from a youthful struggle with identity to a mature feminist assertion of the rights of all people. (Dec.)
In a collection that includes 50 new poems, Jordan again demonstrates that she is still pushing to change the world. Courageously, yet always with a born lyricist's delicate touch, she goes beyond past accomplishment to produce a monumental volume that in its stance against oppression resonates again and again: ``At the throat of Soweto/ a devil language falls/slashing/ claw syllables to shred and leave/raw/ the tongue of the young/ girl.'' Though Jordan's voice is especially musical in her sonnets, the range of all these poems is wide , touching our very souls. A significant new work that establishes the Jordan canon; highly recommended.-- Lenard D. Moore, Writer-in-Residence, Wake Cty. Arts Council , N.C.