Selected Poems by Rita Dove

Copyright 1993
Checked out 9 times in 17 years
Last checked out 4 years ago

I am always pleased to see a volume of Rita Dove’s poetry on a small library’s shelves. She is not a particular favorite of mine, but I do have a lot of respect for her. She was the youngest poet appointed Poet Laureate and the first African American appointed. Her poetry ranges from highly accessible to more subtle to surreal. Here are two stanzas from “The Boast,” a single poem exhibiting both the familiar and the bizarre:

At the dinner table, before the baked egg plant,
you tell the story of you friend, Ira,
how he kept a three-foot piranha in his basement.
“It was this long,” you say, extending your arms,
“And it was striped, with silver scales and blue shadows.”

The man with purple eyes lifts his eyebrows;
you laugh at his joke about the lady
in a sausage suit, you toes find his
under the table, and he is yours.

Her topics range from everyday life to travel in foreign lands. This particular volume is full of people, character sketches (or perhaps character researches or speculations). Many are family members and many of the poems are about family relationships. This book was a very good choice for the Albertville library.

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About jppoetryreader

Poetry reviewer and poetry consultant for libraries
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