Her Blue Body Everything We Know
An educated reader may be a little skeptical toward poetry produced by renowned writers of fiction. Perhaps there is a sense that since fiction writers are celebrated for their more lucrative novels and stories, they are unable to throw themselves body and soul into the volcano of an impoverished poetic sainthood. Missing from the novelist’s poems are hard-earned pyrotechnic bursts and a steady hand for subtleties of structure. A fiction writer’s poems are, when worst fears are realized, merely flat, uninteresting prose broken into lines and stanzas.
Picking up Alice Walker’s massive volume of verse, a reader’s palate may start to dry. Yet venturing into the collection, what a pleasant surprise. Here is a novelist who is displaying her true self in poetry. Picking a few representative lines from so many pages proves difficult; but in all her poems, the delicately adorned style is a delight to behold, and her mastery of free verse is similar to that of a consummate poetic master, Denise Levertov.
While Walker is not a poet’s poet, there is a quiet honesty and accessibility throughout HER BLUE BODY EVERYTHING WE KNOW that could convert poetry haters into enthusiasts. Imagine that this poem was composed after Walker finished an arduous, life-consuming novel: “Now that the book is finished,/ now that I know my character/ will live,/ I can love my child again./ She need sit no longer/ at the back of my mind,/ the lonely sucking of her...
(The entire section is 373 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Her Blue Body Everything We Know Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!