Voyage of the Sable Venus

Voyage of the Sable Venus

And Other Poems

Book - 2016
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"Robin Coste Lewis s electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems meditating on the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self. In the center of the collection is the title poem, Voyage of the Sable Venus, an amazing narrative made up entirely of titles of artworks from ancient times to the present titles that feature or in some way comment on the black female figure in Western art. Bracketed by Lewis s own autobiographical poems, Voyage is a tender and shocking meditation on the fragmentary mysteries of stereotype, juxtaposing our names for things with what we actually see and know. A new understanding of biography and the self, this collection questions just where, historically, do ideas about the black female figure truly begin five hundred years ago, five thousand, or even longer? And what role did art play in this ancient, often heinous story? Here we meet a poet who adores her culture and the beauty to be found within it. Yet she is also a cultural critic alert to the nuances of race and desire how they define us all, including her own sometimes painful history. Lewis s book is a thrilling aesthetic anthem to the complexity o
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101875438
Branch Call Number: 811 LEW
Characteristics: 142 pages ; 25 cm


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Oct 10, 2018

This is a startlingly original work: brave, evocative, provocative, and incredibly well-researched. These poems speak to the reader on their own terms, which may require an initial leap of faith. The personal, narrative poems spoke to me more viscerally, but the long title poem was a masterful work.

The poem "Lure" took my breath away on so many levels. It is in my heart, my spirit, and my mind forever.

Apr 23, 2018

The poems are strong, startling, excellent in the first and final sections. The long poem in the middle section I found less moving, but it contains evocative moments as well. Highly recommended.

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