A fine first collection of poems by a black American now living in Paris. Although the earlier personal works tend to be...

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FROM MEMPHIS AND PEKING

A fine first collection of poems by a black American now living in Paris. Although the earlier personal works tend to be marred by the kind of repetition that used to pass for passionate urgency (""You and I/ You and I/ New/ New""), the later ones have a rare combination of strength, grace and ambition. Chase-Riboud mounts metaphor upon metaphor in what in effect becomes a metaphoric replication of the very thing she is describing: ""The roofs of the palaces and pavilions catching the last/ Light as if the sun were their own reflection/ Corner towers rise to meet the descending mist/ Which becomes a pale and smoky screen/ Between the red walls of the city and my avid Western eyes/ Like the veils the emperor's valets wore/ So as not to contaminate him with their breath."" Whereas she is more prosaically ironical in poems that deal with lovers or being a woman, there is always an undercurrent of emotion that may at any moment evolve into a dizzying whirl of names, places, feelings. This is a tough-minded, soft-hearted, often touching and always interesting book.

Pub Date: May 1, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1974