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The Venus Hottentot

Poems
Elizabeth Alexander
I didn't want to write a poem that said "blackness
is," because we know better than anyone
that we are not one or ten or ten thousand things
Not one poem
-from "Today's News"

Originally published in 1990 to widespread acclaim, The Venus Hottentot introduces Elizabeth Alexander's vital poetic voice, distinguished even in this remarkable first book by its examination of history, gender, and race with an uncommon clarity and music. These poems range from personal memory to cultural history to human personae: John Coltrane, Frida Kahlo, Nelson Mandela, and "The Venus Hottentot," a nineteenth-century African woman who was made into a carnival sideshow exhibit.

In language as vibrant within traditional forms as it is within improvisational lyrics, the poems in The Venus Hottentot demonstrate why Alexander is among our most dazzling and important contemporary poets and cultural critics.

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$14.00
ISBN
978-1-55597-392-6
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Subject
Pages
64
Trim Size
5 1/4 x 8 1/2
The brilliant and virtuosic debut collection by poet Elizabeth Alexander

About the Author

Elizabeth  Alexander
Credit: CJ Gunther
Elizabeth Alexander is the author of five previous books of poetry including American Sublime, a finalist for the Pulitzer prize. She is also the author of a memoir, The Light of the World, and two books of essays, including The Black Interior. On January 20, 2009, she delivered her poem “Praise Song for the Day” at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. She has received the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry, the Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship, and the Jackson Poetry Prize. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, the director of creativity and free expression at the Ford Foundation, and the Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University.

http://www.elizabethalexander.net
 
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Praise

  • “My life is black and filled with fortune because of young black people like Elizabeth Alexander.”—Washington Post
  • “One of the most exciting books of poetry to come out in a very long time is The Venus Hottentot. . . . An extraordinary new voice has been added to literature.”—People Magazine
  • “The poems are catchy, seductive, steeped in history, more rewarding on successive readings. . . . The Venus Hottentot is a superb first book.”—Poetry
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