WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
stunning poetry debut: this meditation on the black female figure
throughout time introduces us to a brave and penetrating new voice.
Robin Coste Lewis’s electrifying collection is a triptych that begins
and ends with lyric poems considering the roles desire and race play in
the construction of the self. The central panel is the title poem,
“Voyage of the Sable Venus,” a riveting 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 autobiographical poems, “Voyage” is a tender and
shocking study of the fragmentary mysteries of stereotype, as it
juxtaposes our names for things with what we actually see and know.
Offering a new understanding of biography and the self, this collection
questions just where, historically, do ideas about the black... (read more)
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