Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not Quite Poems
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Format: Hardcover, 128pp
Pub. Date: October 2002
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Edition Description: 1ST
by Linda Watkins
Everyone knows that poetry is opinionated, subjective and sometimes downright confusing. I was delighted to find that the problem of comprehension did not exist while reading, Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, by one of the country's leading poets, Nikki Giovanni. What you will find is brilliantly written, emotionally driven, optimistic, stomach-knotting, honest poetry and imaginative prose.
Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea is pure, simple reading with a little something to tickle everyone's fancy. Though some of the poems in this extraordinary collection are sad, and deeply spiritual, the majority are relatively upbeat, punchy and even a little erotic. The excitement Giovanni displays In rebuking Bush and Gore makes you wanna' holler, as does her assessment of a few critters that we pass frequently during our lifetime.
Giovanni pulled out all the stops with, Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea. I believe she drew from all her life experiences to write one of her most profound collections. Her effort shows signs of careful matching, much like the gathering of pieces of material to make a warm comforter. From the gracious recognition of Gwendolyn Brooks, to a poem for Richard Williams (father OF Venus and Serena) to the story of James Weldon Johnson and Daisy Bates, Giovanni penned heartfelt and essential words. And lets not forget her uncanny view of Harry Potter and the fabulous ride to Mars, which takes off from the beginning of the collection.
Giovanni also let loose of some personal baggage as well. One poem in particular, A Deer in Headlights, is an emotional piece on Giovanni's bout with cancer. A bout she won I might add. Though told in unprejudiced candor, the fear of the unexpected rises to the reader, jerking the senses not once, but twice to realize, it happens.
Poetry tributes to Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, a prisoner on death row, her dead father Raymond Myles, and a woman in a correctional facility are exceptional reads. These poems were my favorites because I love a good cause and an uproar for the masses. Thank you Nikki, for taking me there and reminding me not to forget. I'm glad you didn't.
Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea would make a nice gift for anyone on your what-to-get-list. It is reminiscent of a grandmother's love, a drive to work on any given day and the flamboyance of a political debate. The poems and essays were powerful, concise, vitally important to society, uplifting and commanded attention. It is no surprise that Giovanni produced such a wonderful collective treasure. I loved the deepness and spirituality in her words and highly recommend it for readers of all ages.
QUILTING The BLACK-EYED PEA is a short read, maybe forty-five minutes, but allow yourself a few nights with Nikki, You'll want to savor the flavor. Nikki Giovanni . . . I salute you!