A toast in the house of friends : poems / Akilah Oliver.

by Oliver, AkilahLooking glass.

Publisher: Minneapolis, Minn. : Coffee House Press, 2009.Description: 97 pages : illustrations (some colour) ; 23 cm.ISBN: 9781566892223.Subject(s): African American women -- PoetryLooking glass | American poetry -- African American authorsLooking glass | Grief -- PoetryLooking glass | Loss (Psychology) -- PoetryLooking glass
Item type Home library Collection Class number Status Date due Barcode Item reservations
Long loan London College of Communication
Main collection
Printed books 811 OLI (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 54251822
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

"Don't expect sense from these poems, in which grief, politics, literary theory, and sexuality interweave. But do expect language surprise and beautiful metaphors. . . . When [Akilah] Oliver presents her experiences in metaphor-rich language, the reader feels what she feels: incredible loss, infinite pain."-- Library Journal

"An extraordinary gift for everyone."--Alice Notley

Written for her son, Oluchi McDonald (1982-2003), Akilah Oliver's poems incorporate prose, theory, and lyric performance into a powerful testimony of loss and longing. In their journey through the borderlands of sorrow, they grapple with violence, find expression in chants, and, like the graffiti she analyzes, become a place of public and artistic memorial. "If memory is the act of bearing witness," she writes, "then the dream is a friend driving us somewhere."

Akilah Oliver is the author of the she said dialogues , recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she currently lives in Brooklyn and curates the Monday Night Reading Series at the Poetry Project.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Don't expect sense from these poems, in which grief, politics, literary theory, and sexuality interweave. But do expect language surprise and beautiful metaphors. Here are some examples of both: "a colonnade of violets," "thunderous applauding infants," and "loaned surnames to stars." Much of the book commemorates the author's son, Oluchi McDonald, who died in a Los Angeles emergency room after waiting hours without treatment. The poems record this huge loss: "I his body is disintegrating, I his body is ossification." Working in the oral tradition of performance poetry, Oliver (The She Said Dialogues) has composed many chants where repetition and slight word variation build to crescendos: "I have wrapped you in rose petals and clean sheets beautiful boys girls beautiful/ beautiful girls boys beautiful/ beautiful boys girls beautiful." Though one long poem illustrated with her dead son's graffiti is too pedestrian and prosy, even academic, the strongest poems celebrate the loss of her loved ones: "language is a skin/ memory is a skin/ forgetting is a sin." When Oliver presents her experiences in metaphor-rich language, the reader feels what she feels: incredible loss, infinite pain. Recommended for larger collections.-Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P.L., Bloomington, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Akilah Oliver is the author of the she said dialogues, recipient of the PEN Beyond Margins Award. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she has served as artist-in-residence at Beyond Baroque, curated the Poetry Project's Monday Night Reading Series, and taught at Naropa University's Summer Writing Program. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

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