The Venus Hottentot by Elizabeth Alexander (Graywolf Press, paperback)
Publication Date: January 1, 2004
Publisher Marketing: Elizabeth Alexander's highly praised first collection is available once again
I didn't want to write a poem that said "blackness is," because we know better than anyone that we are not one or ten or ten thousand things Not one poem -from "Today's News"
Originally published in 1990 to widespread acclaim,The Venus Hottentotintroduces Elizabeth Alexander's vital poetic voice, distinguished even in this remarkable first book by its examination of history, gender, and race with an uncommon clarity and music. These poems range from personal memory to cultural history to human personae: John Coltrane, Frida Kahlo, Nelson Mandela, and "The Venus Hottentot," a nineteenth-century African woman who was made into a carnival sideshow exhibit.
In language as vibrant within traditional forms as it is within improvisational lyrics, the poems inThe Venus Hottentotdemonstrate why Alexander is among our most dazzling and important contemporary poets and cultural critics.
"Alexander creates intellectual magic in poem after poem." --The New York Times Book Review