cover image Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

Alice Walker, New World Library, $18 (176p) ISBN 978-1-57731-930-6

Walker is of course well known as the author of the novel The Color Purple as well as other works of prose, but she has also published books of poetry throughout her career. Her poetic goals are more inspirational than literary. Poetry is, for her, a place to "share losses, health concerns, and other challenges common to the human condition," as she says in her preface; it is also a place to help heal those wounds. In narrow free verse, often with a single word on a line, Walker asks pertinent questions, such as, in "Watching You Hold Your Hatred," "Isn't it/ slippery?/ might you/ not/ someday/ drop it/ on/ yourself?" She also merges the personal and the political ("You'd be surprised/ to find/ how cleansing/ it feels/ to depose/ a/ dictator:/ There she is/ anticipating your/ every wish"); addresses a "Woman/ of color/ lighting up/ the/ dark"; and describes how love "is embedded in us,/ like seams of gold in the Earth." Walker's many fans won't be disappointed by this book. (Oct.)