Review by Booklist Review
Selections from seven earlier books together with a dozen new poems make this a valuable addition to the contemporary poetry shelf. Komunyakaa is drawn to formal experiment. Many of his poems invent their natural form as they go along, and that form expresses the content; e.g., a compressed double-column of verse captures two women dancing together, a dimeter line draws in the blues in a "hoodoo chant." What remains most vivid in Komunyakaa's work, over his many collections, is his compassion, whether it be for a raped stepchild, a gangbanger, or even an enemy soldier. Collected, this work shows its strength. (Reviewed Mar. 15, 1993)0819522082Pat Monaghan
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
This collection is comprised of poems from seven of Komunyakaa's previous collections. A master at interweaving memory and history to shape his experiences into narratives, Komunyakaa enriches his poems with details: ``His fingernails are black/ & torn from blows,/ as if the hammer/ declares its own angle of reference.'' Music has its special force with a rhythm that seems to enforce meaning: ``Heartstring. Blessed wood/ and every moment the thing's made of:/ ball of fatback/ licked by fingers of fire.'' As an African American, Komunyakaa defines a culture with striking imagery that is often misunderstood by mainstream readers. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. --Lenard D. Moore, United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake Cty., N.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.