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A Poem Traveled Down My Arm: Poems and Drawings

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  237 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
In this illuminating book, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist and acclaimed poet Alice Walker reveals her remarkable philosophy of life. Curiously, this labor of love started with the author’s signature: Faced with the daunting task of providing autographs for multiple copies of one of her poetry collections, Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth, Walker turned an act o ...more
ebook, 176 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Random House (first published October 28th 2003)
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(showing 1-30)
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Brent Ladd
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice Walker is a wise elder who shares her wisdom in both poem and prose. I had heard her speak on television a few times, but her open letter about Howard Zinn at his passing caught my eye, and now I am reading several of her books.

"Choose one country other than your own to love. Keep a finger on its pulse. See yourself in every eye you fear to look into. You live there and die also. Stop running. Earth Mother will win in the end, absorb us casually and grow perfect creations from our mistakes
...more
tomlinton
Nov 18, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Alice came up with this
when she was signing books

If a poem tries this with you
kill it
Ananya Ghosh
This was one beautiful, beautiful book!
Before beginning, I read a few reviews here and saw how disappointed people were at this not being a conventional poetry book, or being just a fodder to engage readers and not worth the money and such similar comments.

But I think I feel differently. The first reason might be because I am fond of poetry of consequence, and not form. I do not care if it rhymes or evokes the most beautiful imagery or uses intellectual metaphors, I care most if the poem is spe
...more
Cara Byrne
Dedicated "To water," this book is comprised of a single long poem accompanying a handful of Walker's simple pencil sketches. Walker explains in her preface that this book emerged after she decided to quit writing; she was asked to autograph hundreds of copies of one of her books, and this monotonous task turned her signature into a giraffe, hair or a sun. This transformation brought her joy and encouraged her to write poems again - which she argues is the most powerful kind of writing.

She stat
...more
Shannon
Feb 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A Poem Traveled Down My Arm is not what I would consider a typical book of poetry. Walker explains that this book came about during a time when she had decided to take a break from writing. So the poems and drawings included here have a lightness and spontaneity about them that is refreshing, enlightening and encouraging.

This book doesn't take long to read, but it's the kind of book that makes me want to read it a second or third time to soak up a bit more of its wisdom. As I read, I marked page
...more
Molly
Aug 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poems
I loved The Color Purple.

I have read two books by Walker that are categorized as poetry, and I wished I hadn't. I have another book of her fiction, and I'm afraid to read it, to become more disappointed.

I wonder how ego works, in some cases. Why one would think this was the right packaging--a hallmark bitty book instead. She wrote in the introduction that these poems came about when she was signing paper to be worked into her books--she wrote how she wouldn't autograph when asked all the time,
...more
Robin
Nov 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully rich little book which could not possibly disappoint.
Some favorites: "What is a promise if not your hand in mine?"
"Not buying war grief remains unsold."
"Neither the war nor the infant was sent to save us from our fate."
"The living die when dead men fight."
"Take a risk-grow old."
"Choose one country other than your own to love."
"See yourself in every eye you fear to look into."
"You will carry me to my resting place and I will leave with you."
Christina
May 18, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, poetry
This is a quick (like 15 minutes) kind of poetry book. It isn't the best poetry, or the most thought-provoking, but it is Alice Walker simply being amazing.

The format is reminiscent of a grocery list, complete with doodleson the side. It just makes me happy. I could "bible dip" this continuously.
Nizzy
May 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There were only a few lines and one full poem that resonated with me. Most of it felt spontaneous, disjointed and themeless, but I think that was the point. It is unfortunate that I chose this book as an introduction to the author's writings.
Marilyn
Not my favorite poetry collection but okay. I did like one quote Ms. Walker wrote: "You cannot eat money and if you could it would make you sick." That one gave me food for thought!
Rajesh Natamsha
Awesome poems!
Dyllan Mathurin
Mar 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is rubbish. Banal thoughts masquerading as poetry. E.g "When we die the ocean of Life closes over us."-Translation: When we die we are no longer alive. Sigh. Avoid like the plague, prospective reader. Not worth your time.
Sparrow
A book that came into existence because the author was required to sign her name a thousand times. (Or really, 1500 times -- originally 500 times, plus this thousand.) (I had no idea famous authors were so exploited.) These signatures would be sewed into finished books. Meanwhile, Alice had decided to write no more, forever. But while signing her name, she began to invent tiny, artless drawings, to relieve her boredom. From these drawings emerged Buddhistic poems of few words. These were part of ...more
Louis
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This is a nice little book. Its very different than other books by Walker, including other poetry books. I particularly appreciated her introduction to this book, which talked about how the book came about and about the meaning of the new style of poetry for her. This book can easily be read in a fairly short amount of time, but it would be easy to meditate on some of the short poems and ideas in this book for quite some time.
Elizabeth
Aug 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is composed of short poems and drawings. It doesn't seem like the kind of book that took years and years to write; most of the poems are spur-of-the-moment and not particularly literary. It also took me about half an hour to read. However, there are still a few poems that make you stop and say "wow." Many are concerned with nuclear waste or pollution, which I thought was interesting.
Mike
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in a short, delicious sitting over a cup of coffee in the Portland rain. It reads like a series of sublime aphorisms pieced together with refrigerator magnets. Let us be thankful for Alice Walker.
Rogene Carter
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poetry
Beautifully simple and complex.
Melissa Mclees
a bunch of words jumbled up.
Tiarra
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in one sitting. Not the most thought provoking or exciting poems. It is a nice quick read though
Amanda
Dec 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of my biggest comforts. Every time I reread the poems I feel soothed. This book touches me.
Nancy Lankston
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
If I had to choose just one Alice Walker book to keep, this is the one I would choose.
Becca
Jan 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I love the short poems in here and I especially LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her random, creative doodles.
Jimmy
Apr 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-authors
To be honest with you, the only poem I really liked was the title poem, but it was terrific in my opinion:

Because
you rubbed
my shoulder
last night
a poem
traveled down
my arm.
Denise
Jul 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
It's Alice Walker, for pete's sake. Do I really need to say more?

Okay, I will anyway: Charming, inventive, playful. And ALICE WALKER!
Rhonda
Feb 15, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Walker had writer's block on this attempt.
Sasha
rated it really liked it
Dec 06, 2008
Rebekah Choat
rated it it was ok
Feb 02, 2015
Kalin
rated it really liked it
Nov 08, 2012
Dawn Bradbury
rated it liked it
Feb 05, 2014
Kym
rated it it was amazing
Jul 05, 2012
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Alice Walker, one of the United States’ preeminent writers, is an award-winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry. In 1983, Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. Her other books include The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessi ...more
More about Alice Walker...

Share This Book

“What is
a promise
if
not
your
hand
in mine?”
6 likes
“Choose
someone
to love
who
wouldn’t even
hear
of it.”
4 likes
More quotes…