The collected poems of Ai

Ai, 1947-2010

Book - 2010

Before her untimely death in 2010, Ai, known for her searing dramatic monologues, was hailed as one of the most singular voices of her generation (New York Times Book Review). Now for the first time, all eight books by this essential and uniquely American poet have been gathered in one volume.

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New York : W.W. Norton & Company [2010]
Main Author
Ai, 1947-2010 (author)
First edition
Item Description
All eight books by this American poet have been gathered in one volume.
Includes index.
Physical Description
464 pages ; 25 cm
  • Cruelty. Twenty-Year Marriage
  • Abortion
  • The Country Midwife: A Day
  • The Unexpected
  • But What I'm Trying to Say Mother Is
  • The Estranged
  • Cruelty
  • The Tenant Farmer
  • Starvation
  • Prostitute
  • Possessions
  • Why Can't I Leave You?
  • I Have Got to Stop Loving You
  • Young Farm Woman Alone
  • Recapture
  • Woman to Man
  • The Anniversary
  • 1931
  • Tired Old Whore
  • Forty-Three-Year-Old Woman, Masturbating
  • Old Woman, Young Man
  • One Man Down
  • After a Long Time
  • Hangman
  • The Sweet
  • The Color Thief
  • The Corpse Hauler's Elegy
  • The Hitchhiker
  • The Root Eater
  • The Widow
  • The Deserter
  • Cuba
  • Sunday
  • Indecision
  • The Cripple
  • The Suicide
  • Disregard
  • Child Beater
  • The Dwarf
  • Warrior
  • Woman
  • The Rivals
  • Everything: Eloy, Arizona, 1956
  • Before You Leave
  • New Crops for a Free Man.
  • Killing Floor. Killing Floor
  • Nothing But Color
  • Lesson, Lesson
  • Jericho
  • The Mortician's Twelve-Year-Old Son
  • The German Army, Russia, 1943
  • Talking to His Reflection in a Shallow Pond
  • 29 (A Dream in Two Parts)
  • She Didn't Even Wave
  • Ice
  • The Ravine
  • Guadalajara Cemetery
  • Guadalajara Hospital
  • The Kid
  • Almost Grown
  • The Expectant Father
  • Sleep Like a Hammer
  • Father and Son
  • I Can't Get Started
  • He Kept on Burning
  • The Woman Who Knew Too Much
  • The Singers
  • Pentecost
  • The Gilded Man.
  • Sin. Two Brothers
  • Blue Suede Shoes
  • The Prisoner
  • Conversation
  • More
  • The Émigré
  • The Man with the Saxophone
  • The Good Shepherd: Atlanta, 1981
  • Salome
  • The Mother's Tale
  • Saint Anne's Reel
  • The Death of Francisco Pizarro
  • The Priest's Confession
  • Kristallnacht
  • Immortality
  • Elegy
  • They Shall Not Pass
  • The Testimony of J. Robert Oppenheimer
  • The Detective
  • The Journalist.
  • Fate. Go
  • Lyndon Libre
  • Jimmy Hoffa's Odyssey
  • Boys and Girls, Lenny Bruce, or Back from the Dead
  • General George Armstrong Custer: My Life in the Theater
  • Interview with a Policeman
  • James Dean
  • The Resurrection of Elvis Presley
  • Last Seen
  • Eve's Story
  • Reunions with a Ghost
  • Capture
  • Fate
  • Evidence: From a Reporter's Notebook
  • The Shadowboxer
  • The Cockfighter's Daughter.
  • Greed. Riot Act, April 29, 1992
  • Self Defense
  • Endangered Species
  • Hoover, Edgar J.
  • Hoover Trismegistus
  • Jack Ruby on Ice
  • Oswald Incognito & Astral Travels
  • Party Line
  • Miracle in Manila
  • Knockout
  • Finished
  • Respect, 1967
  • Family Portrait
  • Life Story
  • The Ice Cream Man
  • Archangel
  • Lust, Love, and Loss
  • Reconciliation
  • Penis Envy
  • Greed.
  • Vice. Rapture
  • False Witness
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Charisma
  • The Antihero
  • Rwanda
  • Stalking Memory
  • The Paparazzi
  • Afterschool Lessons from a Hitman
  • Chance
  • Knock, Knock
  • Blood in the Water
  • Back in the World
  • Flashback
  • Momento Mori
  • Visitation
  • Star Vehicle (My Senior Year in High School)
  • Passing Through.
  • Dread. Dread
  • Delusion
  • Fairy Tale
  • Relativity
  • Family
  • The Saga of Charlie Smith
  • Disgrace
  • Greetings Friend
  • Grandfather Says
  • The Secret
  • Intercourse
  • True Love
  • Rude Awakening
  • Gender/Bender
  • Fifty-three
  • Passage
  • Lullaby
  • The Broker
  • The Calling
  • The White Homegirl
  • The Greenwood Cycle
  • The Psychic Detective: Identity
  • The Psychic Detective: Fantasy
  • the Psychic Detective: Divinity
  • The Psychic Detective: Destiny
  • The Psychic Detective: Infinity.
  • No Surrender. Motherhood
  • The Inheritance
  • Discipline
  • Sisterhood
  • Womanhood
  • Widowhood
  • Libbie
  • Brotherhood
  • Manhood
  • Fatherhood
  • Finnegan Awake
  • A Cigar Is ... Oh, Nevermind
  • I'm the Only One Here
  • The Strange Journey of Ulysses Paradeece After a Hurricane
  • Violation
  • Booth
  • The Hunt
  • White Man
  • Baby Florence, a.k.a. Coming Through Fire
  • "Elizabeth Taylor Has Chubby Fingers, You Know"
  • Deathbed Scenes
  • The Cancer Chronicles
  • Index.
Review by Booklist Review

Ai speaks in many voices,making of each poem a dramatic monologue of shocking disclosure. Earthy, furious women. Angry, wistful men. Murderers, rapists, mothers, fathers, children, witnesses, redeemers. The poor, the abused, the displaced, the endangered, the dangerous, the depraved, the compassionate. Her first book was published in 1973, and the titles of the eight collections gathered here in a raucous, confessional, anguished, and bloody chorus Cruelty, Killing Floor, Sin, Fate, Greed, Vice, Dread, and the posthumous No Surrender offer a key to Ai's harrowing subjects and acute moral calculus. Could it be that Ai's experiences as a person of complex heritage (Japanese, African American, Choctow, Irish) inspired her to take on diverse personae? Born Florence Anthony in 1947, she changed her name to Ai, which means love in Japanese, and annealed love underpins her empathic, emphatic poems. In his penetrating introduction, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa writes of the supreme candor and honed toughness that approach transcendence in Ai's poems, which, for all their brutal intimacy, span American history, concentrating its conflagrations like sunlight through a magnifying glass, igniting the page.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Rape, incest, serial killings, tabloid scandal, genocide in Rwanda and on the American High Plains, child sex abuse, corrupt Catholic priests, teen suicide, and ordinary poverty mixed with rural and inner-city violence: Ai's subjects alone made her poems hard to forget, and her direct treatment of them in unadorned dramatic monologues-some by perpetrators, some by victims, though really in her world most people are both-made her poems hard to ignore, from Cruelty (1973) through seven subsequent volumes before her death in 2010. "The Psychic Detective" remembers "the cold, calculating killer" who left one corpse "with her pubis artistically exposed"; a pregnant teen opens another poem, "I wasn't wearing anything but my underwear/ when the social worker opened the orphanage door." Though the poems got longer, their narratives more detailed, as Ai (born Florence Anthony) aged, their core of trauma did not much change. Figures from the beginning and the end of her career reflect her Choctaw, Irish-, Japanese-, and African-American heritage, along with her Oklahoma residence, in raw, sanguinary, anguished stories and lines. If Ai repeated herself in the 1980s and 1990s, her final book, No Surrender (2010), tried hard to vary its tone and its lines, even using rhyme. Doubters can still call her lurid, cartoonish, unartful; fans-among them Yusef Komunyakaa, who contributes an introduction-will continue to find her not just scary but truthful, fierce, and proud. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved