Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems by Robin Coste Lewis

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Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems Read Online Free - A stunning poetry debut: this meditation on the black female figure through 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 meditating on the roles that desire and race play in the construction of the self. In the center of the collection is the title poem, "Voyage of the Sable Venus," an amazing 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 own autobiographical poems, Voyage is a tender and shocking meditation on the fragmentary mysteries of stereotype, juxtaposing our names for things with what we actually see and know. A new understanding of biography and the self, this collection questions just where, historically, do ideas about the black female figure truly begin--five hundred years ago, five thousand, or even longer? And what role did art play in this ancient, often heinous story?

Here we meet a poet who adores her culture and the beauty to be found within it. Yet she is also a cultural critic alert to the nuances of race and desire--how they define us all, including her own sometimes painful history. Lewis's book is a thrilling aesthetic anthem to the complexity of race--a full embrace of its pleasure and horror, in equal parts.

From the Hardcover edition.

Title : Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1101875437
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 160 pages


Roxane rated it ★★★★★

September 25, 2015

This is one of the best books I have ever read. It is outstanding, an achievement. Good on Knopf for publishing this book and so beautifully.The poems are so moving, powerful, unapologetically black. On the Road to Sri Bhuvaneshwari is outstanding. Also, Frame. And Lure. I mean, my god. This is a...

Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it ★★★★★

February 15, 2016

Fantastic, absolutely deserving of the National Book Award this past year, an exploration of identity from internal and external perspectives. The title poem, a long one in sections composed entirely of names of works of art containing a black female figure, is astounding in how it morphs and cha...

Jason rated it ★★★★★

October 19, 2015

" All is suffering is a bad modernist translation. What the Buddha really said is: It's all a mixed bag. Shit is complicated. Everything's fucked up. Everything's gorgeous. Even Death contains pleasure - six feet below understanding." - from "Pleasure & Understanding," one of my favorite poems...

Shaun rated it ★★★★☆

January 02, 2016

Four and one-half (4 1/2) stars; not four (4) stars. While I personally favored Terrance Hayes' smart collection of poetry in "How to be Drawn" this book by Robin Coste Lewis tenderly traces her journey of self-discovery toward racial identity and enlightenment that is both thrilling, erudite and...

Anna rated it ★★★★★

October 12, 2015

This is one of the best collections of poetry written in English, period. Lyricism, conceptual praxis, spiritual theory, socio-political double-twists, and aesthetics criticism blend elegantly in this collection. The body of the goddess, the steppe, the poetic I/ We, and history is no longer frac...

Eunice rated it ★★★☆☆

February 05, 2017

3.5! A powerful read!

Ari rated it ★★★★☆

January 18, 2016

IQ "Knowing taught me-quickly-to spell community more honestly: l-o-n-e-l-y. During Arts and Crafts, when Miss Larson allowed the scissors out, I'd sneak a pair, then cut my hair to stop me from growing too long" (121) Art & Craft ^Raise your head if you've felt like this before when mocked for bei...

Michaela rated it ★★★★☆

April 27, 2016

Now I don't want you to look at the one star missing here and think that this wasn't a mind mindbogglingly good book. It was crazy good. In fact it was so good, I had trouble understanding it. I think the problem here was that I took out a library copy and therefor could not highlight, underline,...

Craig rated it ★★★★★

May 28, 2016

Amazing first book of poetry. It would be amazing at any point in a career. The title poem, which forms the central panel of a triptych of historical memory, consists solely of the titles and descriptions of works of art involving black women; I'm not going to try to summarize the rules Lewis est...

Abby rated it ★★★★★

November 19, 2015

“Art hurts. Art urges voyages—” (Gwendolyn Brooks) Oh, so many chills! A beautiful, heart-rending, inventive book of poems. (Those breathtaking line breaks!) Highly, highly recommended. The best poems I’ve read this year. With many thanks to Wei for giving us a copy. The titular collection (a surve...

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