Head Off & Split

Finney, Nikky (Book - 2011 )
Head Off & Split

Item Details

Chicago Distribution Center

Winner of 2011 National Book Award for Poetry
Winner of 2012 GLCS Award for Poetry
Winner of 2012 SIBA Book Award for Poetry
Nominee for 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry

The poems in Nikky Finney’s breathtaking new collection Head Off & Split sustain a sensitive and intense dialogue with emblematic figures and events in African American life: from civil rights matriarch Rosa Parks to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, from a brazen girl strung out on lightning to a terrified woman abandoned on a rooftop during Hurricane Katrina. Finney’s poetic voice is defined by an intimacy that holds a soft yet exacting eye on the erotic, on uncanny political and family events, like her mother’s wedding waltz with South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, and then again on the heartbreaking hilarity of an American president’s final State of the Union address.

Artful and intense, Finney’s poems ask us to be mindful of what we fraction, fragment, cut off, dice, dishonor, or throw away, powerfully evoking both the lawless and the sublime.

Blackwell Publishing
"Nikky Finney has been a fine poet much too long to say that this latest treasure is her promise coming into being. She exploded with so much talent with On Wings Made of Gauze and beautifully matured with Rice, yet Head Off & Split takes the promise of youth with the control of adulthood to bring her greatest exploration. Honest, searing, searching. We all, especially now, need this book of poems; we all, especially now, need this poet."---Nikki Giovanni, author of Bicycles

"Beginning with the sweepingly inclusive and powerful `Red Velvet,' a Middle Passage poem for our times, Nikky Finney takes the reader to a wonderfully alive world where the musical possibilities of language overflow with surprise and innovation. Finney has an ear to go along with the wildness of her imagination, which sweeps through history like a pair of wings. Her carefully modulated free verse is always purposeful in its desire to move the reader in a way that allows us intimate access to necessary observations about ourselves. These poems, in other words, have the power to save us."---Bruce Weigl, author of What Saves Us

"In Nikky Finney's Head Off & Split the beauty of language soars and saves us even as we skirt the raw edge of terror. And something rare and precious is restored, a light, a circling movement of the spirit. This is poetry to give thanks for."---Meena Alexander, author of Quickly Changing River

"No one opens a vein on the page with a sharper and more nuanced gathered set of senses than Nikky Finney. In Head Off & Split, she takes aim at the heart of American wrong-headedness with a sense of purpose and integrity not only respectful of, but fueled by, her own brand of multiple kinships and remembrance, a grand struggle-swagger of powerful literary inheritance."---Thomas Sayers Ellis, author of Skin, Inc.

"With Head Off & Split, Nikky Finney establishes herself as one of the most eloquent, urgent, fearless and necessary poets writing in America today. What makes this book as important as anything published in the last decade is the irresistible music, the formal dexterity and the imaginative leaps she makes with metaphor and language in these simply stunning poems. This is a very, very important achievement."---Kwame Dawes, author of Hope's Hospice

Authors: Finney, Nikky
Statement of Responsibility: Nikky Finney
Title: Head off & split
Publisher: Evanston, Ill. : TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, c2011
Characteristics: xv, 97 p. ; 22 cm.
Sold by: TriQuarterly BooksNorthwestern University Press
Contents: Resurrection of the errand girl: an introduction
The hard * headed
Red velvet
My time up with you
The Condoleezza suite
Concerto no. 5: Condoleezza & intransigence
Concerto no. 7: Condoleezza (working out) at the Watergate
Concerto no. 11: Condoleezza and the Chickering
Concerto no. 12: Condoleezza visits NYC (during hurricane season)
The head * over * heels
Thunderbolt of Jove
The aureole
Shaker: Wilma Rudolph appears while riding the Althea Gibson Highway home
The clitoris
Brown girl levitation, 1962-1989
The head * waters
Dancing with Strom
Segregation, forever
Negroes with guns
Hash marks
Men who give milk I
Alice Butler
Penguin, mullet, bread
Liberty Street seafood
Head off & split
Instruction, final: to brown poets from black girl with silver Leica
Subject Headings: African Americans Poetry
Topical Term: African Americans
Black author
Local Subject Heading: Black author
LCCN: 2010028888
ISBN: 9780810152168
Branch Call Number: 811 Finney
Research Call Number: Sc D 11-611
MARC Display»

From the critics

Library Staff

List - Poetry Books, 2011 by: nypl_seward_park Dec 19, 2011

"... Finney’s poetic voice is defined by an intimacy that holds a soft yet exacting eye on the erotic, on uncanny political and family events, like her mother’s wedding waltz with South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, and then again on the heartbreaking hilarity of an American president’s f... Read More »

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.


Add a Video

There are no videos for this title yet.

No similar edition of this title was found at NYPL.

Try searching for Head Off & Split to see if NYPL owns related versions of the work.


Buy It Now

Support your library, keep it forever!

View Purchase Options Learn more about this program

Your Cart

Hello! We noticed you have the following items in your cart right now:

If you'd still like to purchase the items you have in your cart, you can do that now.

You'll be able to purchase your eBook after you have checked out your current cart.

Head Off & Split
Finney, Nikky
Head Off & Split

To continue with your eBook purchase immediately, you can clear your cart by clicking below.

All items will be removed from your cart.

I'd like to keep browsing! I'll decide later.

Explore Further

Browse the Shelf

Subject Headings



Powered by BiblioCommons.