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The Summer of Black Widows

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  421 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Poetry. Native American Studies. THE SUMMER OF BLACK WIDOWS presents poetry that has continued to grow in power, complexity, and vision. According to reviewer James R. Kincaid, "Mr. Alexie's is one of the major lyric voices of our time," and the many honors and an international following of readers from his poems, stories, and novels proves the claim. Chris Faatz from The ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published January 1st 1996 by Hanging Loose Press
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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtFight Club by Chuck PalahniukThe Green Mile by Stephen KingInto the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Best Books of 1996
59th out of 257 books — 125 voters
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman AlexieThe Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman AlexieBeyond Oria Falls by Sheryl SealLove Medicine by Louise ErdrichCeremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
Native American Fiction
207th out of 588 books — 547 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 925)
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Stephanie
Mar 06, 2016 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
I love Alexie. Two of my favorite poems are in this collection: Capital Punishment and How to write the Great American Indian Novel, both of which I first read in an anthology years ago. Alexia's voice is clear, sarcastic and at times, satisfyingly condescending.
Daryl
Sep 23, 2013 Daryl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I'm not always a big fan of poetry - much of it is too esoteric and "high-falutin'" for my tastes -- but I'm a big fan of Alexie's fiction. I really enjoyed this book of poems. It's written in "everyday" language, thus avoiding the making-it-hard-to-follow problem. Alexie writes about subjects that we can all relate to (love, fear, Bigfoot), but comes from his own unique perspective. The poems are organized into sections, each with a particular theme. But it's possible to read a little bit at a ...more
Edith Hope Bishop
Jan 24, 2015 Edith Hope Bishop rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Sherman Alexie, if you ever read this, thank you for writing love songs for your wife. Thank you for finding the other side of anger. Thank you for sharing your troubles and ideas with grace and humor.
Erin Thomas
Apr 23, 2016 Erin Thomas rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
There were poems I liked and which really caused a few moments of reflection, such as "Grand Entry" on pg 66, part 3 of "Tourists" pg 92 and "The Place where Ghosts of Salmon Jump" on pg 19.

Sharp detractors involved poems such as the "Totem Sonets," which were basically 14 lines of names of things and people. To call these lists "poems" is something of a stretch. There was another poem titled as a sonnet which consisted of 14 interconnected prose paragraphs. Another stretch. As what some would c
...more
Jason
Dec 28, 2010 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
These poems are a pleasure to read. Plus, there's a lot of them. It bothers me when poets put out a collection of 60 pages of poetry for $16. Alexie has 139 pages here. He continues to use "Indian" images of salmon, rivers, (fancy) dancing, as well as images from his past like basketball. The loss of his sister and brother-in-law surfaces again (And why shouldn't it? I would never get over that either!). Although most of the poems here are free verse, there's an occasional form like the villanel ...more
Melanie
Mar 23, 2015 Melanie rated it liked it
I enjoy most all of Alexie's writings but Face is by far my favorite so far of all his poetry.
Jen
Jul 29, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it
I've been hearing a lot about Sherman Alexie lately, so I had to try him out. I haven't read such engaging poetry for a long time, and I enjoyed the balance of simple and complicated. He had both pleasing imagery and thought-provoking stories to tell. Because I heard he writes children and young adult books, some of the topics surprised me. I can't wait to read more by Alexie, and plan to read and then watch The Business of Fancydancing in the next few weeks.
Judy
Jan 22, 2012 Judy rated it it was amazing
This was the featured book on my favorite nationally-broadcast poetry show 1/22/12, and I am happy it was. Sherman Alexie tells us about so much, and does it so well, with poetic structures and references that are both familiar and refreshing. Magic is never far away, but no nearer than the day-to-day pain of poverty, diabetes, alcoholism and PTSD. We see the light, smell the fire, feel the blood the characters encounter in these poems, are invited to share myth and mystery, and to see Walt Whit ...more
Maddie
Jan 12, 2015 Maddie rated it it was amazing
Alexie's poetry is absolutely beautiful.
Janet
Jan 04, 2015 Janet rated it liked it
Only read part of it due to time commitments.
Kaitlyn
Aug 29, 2014 Kaitlyn rated it really liked it
As always, Alexie's poetry is simply stunning.
Pamela
Apr 25, 2008 Pamela rated it it was amazing
What a marvel of a book! My favorite poems were "Totem Sonnets" and "Sonnet: Tattoo Tears" (which is among the greatest sonnets I've read). I wish our poetry group would address these two poems.

I look forward to reading more of his poetry. Alexie's short story, "What You Pawn, I Will Redeem," is also a marvel.

(I don't know if I'd go so far as the prior reviewer to say that I'd have his children, but I'd definitely baby-sit, free of charge).
Sarah
Oct 29, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Seriously. I'm not a huge poetry fan. I really don't enjoy sitting and reading it at all, but this was just incredible. It is almost worth reading the terrible books by Momaday and Vizenor in Native American Literature to stumble on this one. I'm considering which poems I might be able to use in my classroom. Alexie is the kind of poet who makes every other poet want to just give up.
Robyn Groth
Sherman Alexie makes amazing use of repetition and exclamations. Wow, what exclamations! And the repetition. The repetition and the exclamations draw you in and make you feel the energy of the speaker.
Emily
Mar 18, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: more people who find geniuses hot
It's a fact that I would have Sherman Alexie's babies if he were interested. This book of incandescent, surreal, and painfully honest poetry just makes me ready to procreate even more. The man is a genius.
Catherine
Jan 03, 2013 Catherine rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, adult
I always enjoy Sherman Alexie's work. Some of these poems are better than others and some are not - which is the way of poems. Alexie makes me think though - and I like that.
Sarah
Sep 12, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
"Sherman, I'm sorry your sister was killed by a metaphor."

"Fire as Verb and Noun" said things I don't think anyone else has ever thought of before, but everyone can relate to.
Hayun
Mar 15, 2012 Hayun rated it liked it
BY SHERMAN ALEXIE!!! Alexie's voice is full of truth. Here is a man who knows about America and its elusive dreams.
Sarah
May 15, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
The Summer of Black Widows by Sherman Alexie (1996)
Cayr
Jun 20, 2012 Cayr rated it really liked it
Another great selection of free verse poetry from Alexie.
Marisela
Aug 14, 2007 Marisela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Fantastic poems. Really lovely and haunting.
Meer
Jul 22, 2009 Meer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-collection
This a superb collection of poetry.
Tatyana
Jan 05, 2011 Tatyana rated it it was amazing
Loved these poems.
Brett
Apr 14, 2008 Brett rated it it was amazing
Fiction,Prose
Annie
Jun 05, 2011 Annie rated it really liked it
Mail box treat!
Tommy
Dec 09, 2007 Tommy rated it it was amazing
The first book of Sherman's poetry that I read. Its brilliant, funny, sad, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Brett Axel
Jun 12, 2009 Brett Axel rated it it was amazing
I cried.
Lesley
Oct 20, 2008 Lesley rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Wow.
Celeste
Celeste rated it really liked it
Sep 23, 2016
Teresa Tompkins
Teresa Tompkins marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2016
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Sherman J. Alexie, Jr., was born in October 1966. A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, he grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane, WA. Alexie has published 18 books to date.
Alexie is an award-winning and prolific author and occasional comedian. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a modern Native American. Sherman's best known works in
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