From the Publisher
"Remarkable . . . a poet of dramatic force." The New York Review of Books
"Consistently accomplished . . . Dove's is a brilliant mind that seeks for itself the widest possible play, an ever-expanding range of reference, the most acute distinctions, and the most subtle shadings of meaning. . . . Her is a major career." Arnold Rampersad, Callaloo
"Dove's poems, rich with elegant phrasing and Southern spice, blast tradition by pulling readers into other lives and then dazzle them with an often startling mastery of language." Boston Globe
"Rita Dove . . . is a devoted and subtle storyteller [whose] gifts are evoking, and sometimes exalting, the everyday moments we live by but may neglect or forget, the music of her words issuing a message of uncanny integrity and calm. Though often writing of private experience (mothering, mourning death, watching rain), she never seems to lose sight of the world beyond." Newsweek
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Contains the poet laureate's previous volumes, The Yellow House on the Corner , Museum and Thomas and Beulah , plus a new introduction and poem. (Oct.)
Dove is a prolific poet whose honors include the Pulitzer Prize and her present appointment as Poet Laureate of the United States (she is the youngest poet and the only African American to have held this post). This book includes poems from her first three books. A prose introduction by the author about becoming a writer ends with a recent autobiographical poem, ``In the Old Neighborhood,'' which reiterates in powerful images the concern with self-definition and history in the older poems. Of strawberries, she writes, ``Mom sliced the red hearts into sugar/ and left them to build their own/ improbable juice.'' Indeed, the personal narrative, both contemporary and historical, drives these poems; full of observed detail, they are shaped by huge events--birth, death, hardship, racism, politics: ``No front yard to speak of/just a porch cantilevered on faith.'' ``Thomas and Beulah,'' the magnificent narrative sequence based on Dove's grandparents' lives, is included in its entirety. Essential.-- Ellen Kaufman, Dewey Ballantine Law Lib., New York
Read an Excerpt
The Secret Garden
I was ill, lying on my bed of old papers,
when you came with white rabbits in your arms;
and the doves scattered upwards, flying to mothers,
and the snails sighed under their baggage of stone . . .
Now your tongue grows like celery between us;
Because of our love-cries, cabbage darkens in its nest;
the cauliflower thinks of her pale, plump children and turns greenish-white in a light like the ocean's.
I was sick, fainting in the smell of teabags,
when you came with tomatoes, a good poetry.
I am being wooed. I am being conquered by a cliff of limestone that leaves chalk on my breasts.