Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Prize
Selected by Marilyn Nelson
Finalist, 2003 Paterson Poetry Prize
"Imagine Leda black" begins Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanons exciting new collection of poems. Mixing vernacular language with classical mythology, modern struggles with Biblical trials, she gives voice to silenced women past and present.
In Van Clief-Stefanons powerful voice, last nights angry words "puffed / into the dark room like steam / punching through the thick surface / of cooking grits." She remembers a childs innocence "lost / in the house where I learned the red rug / against my chest, my knees / my tongue, . . . ." Black Swan is filled with pain, loss, hope, and the promise of salvation.
"A series of dramatic portraits: the landscape of a Florida landscape too hot to touch, the mother’s Pentecostal Old Testament law of judgment, a father’s recklessness in the mindless spreading of seed, male malingering with no meaningful work, and little instruction by example. . . . Ecstatic lyric, ritual grace under extreme pressure, realized."
—Michael S. Harper
A powerful new voice on the poetry scene, Van Clief-Stefanon writes of pain, loss, hope, and the promise of salvation.