The Homeplace: Poems

The Homeplace: Poems

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by Marilyn Nelson Waniek, Marilyn Nelson
     
 

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LSU Press

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this quietly provocative and poignant collection of poems, Waniek ( Mama's Promises ) records the history of her family, beginning with her great-great-grandmother's experiences as a slave in the South, through her father's years as one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the celebrated group of black aviators who fought during World War II. Many of these works are based on stories the poet's mother passed on to her before her death, and Waniek retains the immediacy of this oral legacy through a skillful interweaving of dialect, quotations and first-person narration, and through her matter-of-fact, unadorned speech: ``Being black in America / was the Original Catch, / so no one was surprised / by 22: / The segregated airstrips, / separate camps. / They did the jobs / they'd been trained to do.'' In consistently moving narratives and adeptly crafted sonnets (Waniek's attempts at the villanelle and ballad are less impressive), the poet charts her family's survival in the face of oppression and racial injustice through carefully selected details and an evenhanded tone that avoids emotionalism and elevates personal history to universal experience. (Dec.)
School Library Journal
YA-- A slim yet compelling collection of poetry that celebrates several generations of a Southern black family with rich and vivid portraits. Great-Uncle Rufus was born a slave, conceived by rape, but raised by his mother with enough love and faith to imbue courage and pride in his own five children. Aunt Geneva dared to love a white man well into her eighties. Waniek's father, an Air Force navigator, and her ``uncles,'' the famed Tuskegee Airmen, inspired the poet to look to the sky and ask ``. . . how shall I live and work to match your goodness?'' This is a worthy addition to any poetry collection, but it's of particular importance with the recent interest in the airmen and the contribution of blacks in the U. S. military. An excellent work for curriculum use in integrating history and literature.-- Jackie Gropman, Richard Byrd Library, Springfield, VA
Booknews
Through a variety of traditional and free verse forms, Waniek's (English, U. of Conn. at Storrs) third poetry collection sketches the lives descended from her great-great-grandmother, the slave Diverne. The second section honors Waniek's father and his family Airmen. Paper edition (unseen), $7.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807116418
Publisher:
Louisiana State University Press
Publication date:
12/01/1990
Pages:
64
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.93(h) x 0.22(d)

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