The Woman I Kept to Myself [NOOK Book]


The works of this award-winning poet and novelist are rich with the language and influences of two cultures: those of the Dominican Republic of her childhood and the America of her youth and adulthood. They have shaped her writing just as they have shaped her life. In these seventy-five autobiographical poems, Alvarez’s clear voice sings out in every line. Here, in the middle of her life, she looks back as a way of understanding and celebrating the woman she has become. ...
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The Woman I Kept to Myself

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The works of this award-winning poet and novelist are rich with the language and influences of two cultures: those of the Dominican Republic of her childhood and the America of her youth and adulthood. They have shaped her writing just as they have shaped her life. In these seventy-five autobiographical poems, Alvarez’s clear voice sings out in every line. Here, in the middle of her life, she looks back as a way of understanding and celebrating the woman she has become.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Author of the popular novels How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies, Alvarez continues to explore themes of cultural difference and personal experience in her new collection of poems. The book, which marks her fourth collection of poetry, comprises 75 poems of 30 lines each; the formal constraint is an organizing principle for these sometimes meandering autobiographical poems. A good many poems explore her development and status as a writer, specifically as a Latina: "Even I, childless one, intend to write/ New Yorker fiction in the Cheever style / but all my stories tell where I came from." The midsection of the book, "The Woman I Kept to Myself," roams from nostalgic reflections on childhood birthday presents to meditations on eating disorders to speedily resolved family conflicts to personal, and worldwide, losses: "Why did it take so long? Mom and Dad's deaths/ a friend's cancer, a cousin's accident/ the Twin Towers, the war on innocents...." Seeing the first signs of spring sets the world to rights again: "Then suddenly, a daffodil, a patch/ of crocuses... and back into the intact Towers flew/ stick figures, like a film in reverse." Most poems here arrive at similar recastings of hard truths; often, however, one feels that both sides of the equation are too easily won, drawing close to clich and facile reconciliation: "I've woken to the world just as it is," she writes, "and that's enough-in fact, more than enough." (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Quotidian events, a storylike structure, and colloquial diction make Alvarez's latest book seem more like a memoir (albeit one written with attention to the sounds of language, especially alliteration) than a book of poetry. The author of four novels (including In the Time of the Butterflies, a National Book Award finalist), Alvarez at her best writes in a style reminiscent of Billy Collins. There are deceptively simple conversational poems, like "Saman" and several others here, which resonate in a bright mesh of metaphors. Yet most of the work in this collection does not attain that level. Some poems, like "Deathdays" and "All-American Girl," have a greeting-card tone; others go on too long, as if Alvarez were afraid that readers might not have understood the actual ending, which usually occurs in the penultimate stanza. Too many poems (e.g., "Why I Write") rely on clich s, few of which are spun out into gold. Recommended for larger public libraries only.-Diane Scharper, Towson Univ., MD Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-This tightly structured collection of 75 poems is divided into three sections, and each poem has three stanzas, exactly. Alvarez's voice, however, is as free and strong as the free verse she composes. The poet, who is from the Dominican Republic, writes about being raised with her sisters in New York. The subjects are personal-love, marriage, rejection, divorce, death, religion-but also universal. She says in "Why I Write," "Unless I write things down I never know what I think, no less feel." This book will appeal to readers not only for the eloquence with which Alvarez describes her feelings and discoveries, but also for the humor. In "Abbot Academy" she notes that as a schoolgirl she found that ladies "-learned to be blondies even if they were dark-haired, olive-skinned, spic-chicks like me." Readers who enjoyed How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (1992) or In the Time of the Butterflies (1995, both Plume) will love her poetry. Teens approaching adulthood will appreciate the poet who turned to "paper solitude" and through many drafts discovered "the woman I kept to myself."-Sheila Janega, Fairfax County Public Library, Great Falls, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“Charming and intense at the same time, Alvarez writes candidly of epic concerns and everyday realities in this unfailingly lucid collection of autobiographical poems.” —Booklist

“Brave and vivid . . . Seventy-five poems express wonder, anger, grief and joy in clear, accessible narratives.” —The Miami Herald

“The poems are, like precious moments in life, nuggets to be savored and reflected upon.” —The Dallas Morning News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616200749
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 4/5/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 861,364
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Julia  Alvarez
Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. A novelist, poet, and essayist, she is the author of nineteen books, including How the García Girls Lost Their Accents,In the Time of the Butterflies—a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Selection—Yo!, Something to Declare, In the Name of Salome, Saving theWorld, A Wedding in Haiti, and The Woman I Kept to Myself. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including the 2013 National Medal of Arts, a Latina Leader Award in Literature in 2007 from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the 2002 Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the 2000 Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library’s 1996 program “The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez.” A writer-in-residence at Middlebury College, Alvarez and her husband, Bill Eichner, established Alta Gracia, an organic coffee farm–literacy arts center, in her homeland, the Dominican Republic.
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    1. Hometown:
      Middlebury, Vermont
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 27, 1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Middlebury College, 1971; M.F.A., Syracuse University, 1975

Table of Contents

Family tree 3
Saman 5
Weeping willow 7
Maple, oak, or elm 9
Arborvitae 11
Locust 13
Last trees 15
Intimations of mortality from a recollection in early childhood 19
Anger & art 21
El fotografo 23
The red pickup 25
Spic 27
All-American girl 29
Bellevue 31
Abbot Academy 33
By accident 35
Vain doubts 37
First muse 39
Lunch hour, 1971 41
Heartland 43
Bad-weather friends 45
Sisterhoods 47
Reunion 49
My bottom line 51
Love portions 53
Fights 55
Tone 57
Hairbands 59
Manholes 61
Canons 63
My kind of woman 65
Museo del Hombre 67
Ars politica 69
Naming the animals 71
The animals review pictures of a vanished race 73
Why don't we ever see Jesus laughing? 75
Addison's vision 77
Winter storm 79
The therapist 81
Disappearing 83
Gaining my self back 85
That moment 87
Signs 89
Deathdays 91
All's clear 93
Now, when I look at women 95
At the GYN 97
Grand baby 99
Life lines 101
Spring, at last! 103
Regreso 105
In Spanish 107
You 109
Leaving English 111
Meditation 113
Aficionados 115
Touching bottom 117
Cleaning ladies 119
Tom 121
I dream of Allen Ginsberg 123
Famous poet, years afterward 125
Why I teach 127
Undercover poet 129
Small portions 131
"Poetry makes nothing happen"? 133
Reading for pleasure 135
Direct address 137
Passing on 139
El sereno 143
Looking up 145
What we ask for 147
What was it that I wanted? 149
Keeping watch 151
Why I write 153
Did I redeem myself? 155
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