cover image Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poems

Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poems

Ntozake Shange. 37 Ink, $21 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5011-6993-9

Acclaimed poet, playwright, and novelist Shange, best known for her play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow Is Enuf, takes readers on a kaleidoscopic journey through black womanhood in her first selected volume. Translated into Spanish by Alejandro Álvarez Nieves, the collection spans the course of her prolific 40-year career in both languages. The poems showcase vibrant narratives of black women who are neither solely saints nor sinners. For Shange, it is important to capture the inner lives of black women without judgment and provide a voice for those who have been oppressed by self-imposed silence. In the opening poem, she envisions a new type of deity: “we need a god who bleeds now/ whose wounds are not/ some small male vengeance/ some pitiful concession to humility.” Shange often deals with the consequences of failed dreams, as in the poem “Five”: “livin dreams’ll make ya crazy/ livin dreams’ll lead ya to the/ end/ s of yrself.” Shange’s ability to breathe life into myriad characters and voices is on display throughout the collection. And, despite the instances of disappointment, violence, and struggle, the poems all highlight hope, joy, and optimism. This is an exemplary representation of Shange’s body of poetic work. (Nov.)