On the Bus With Rosa Parks
A collection of poems expresses both the disappointments and awakenings of everyday life, and the acts of subtle heroism that can have resounding effects
A dazzling new collection by a much celebrated former Poet Laureate of the United States. In these brilliant poems, Rita Dove treats us to a panoply of human endeavor, shot through with the electrifying jazz of her lyric elegance. From the opening sequence, "Cameos," which probes the private griefs and dreams of a working-class family, to the emblematic grace of a living legend like Rosa Parks, who acquiesced to public life in order to "serve the public good," these poems explore the intersection of individual fates with the grand arc of history. If there are heroes, Dove maintains, they continually reinvent themselves, as each of us must do every morning. As always with Rita Dove, there are stories --ghost tales and cautionary allegories ("The Camel Comes to Us from the Barbarians"), anecdotes and the historical moment reexamined ("The Enactment"). We get the lowdown nitty-gritty from a jitterbug queen ("Black on a Saturday Nightz"), eavesdrop on a child's whisperings ("I Cut My Finger Once on Purpose"), and experience the awakening of a bored teenager to the world of books. Whether parable or meditation, confession or praise, these poems remind us just how infinitely various a creature the human being is.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning former Poet Laureate of the United States offers a poetic celebration of the complexities of human life in a collection that includes such works as "Cameos," "The Camel Comes to Us from the Barbarians," "The Enactment," and "Black on a Saturday Nightz."
Civil rights movements
African American women
From the critics
The former Poet Laureate's new collection sheds light on both history's most famous and most forgotten characters.
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