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Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 Complete

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  797 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Walker’s complete poems, including new and previously unpublished verse, collected for the first time-with author’s notes that provide historical perspective on spiritual and political issues of the last three decades.   This title has been selected as a Common Core Text Exemplar (Grades 9-10, Poetry)
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 31st 1993 by Mariner Books (first published April 1st 1991)
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  797 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is one of the volumes I had hoarded for National Poetry Month. Alice Walker is better known as the author of The Color Purple, but she has written quite a few poems. These span from 1965 and are highly biographical, from her trip to Kenya to her work in voter registration in Mississippi, through relationship ups and downs, up through having children. I had first skimmed through them when I was helping a friend find a poem for his mother's funeral, but getting to have a more careful reading ...more
Jun 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This contains the complete text of Walker's first four books of poetry as well as some previously uncollected pieces. Each component book will be treated separately, and then the "new" poems.

Read review here

Revolutionary Petunias
Read review here

Good Night Willie Lee, I'll See You In the Morning
Read review here

Horses Make A Landscape Look More Beautiful
Read review here

We Have a Beautiful Mother: Previously Uncollected Poems

These poems were most like those of Horses Make a Landscape Look More
Jennifer (aka EM)
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I love alice walker. I love her novels, which read like poems. In fact, before I knew she was a poet, I knew she was a poet.

And I love this volume of her poetry. The title poem is a stunning piece of environmental consciousness coupled with simple, but powerful, images of the earth as a body/the body as the earth. Her sensibility oozes out of these words, even more than in her novels.

It's reprinted on my blog here .

Cyndi Lu
I absolutely loved drowning in this book. Alice Walker poured her heart and soul onto these pages to express what it means to be an African American woman in the mid to late Twentieth Century. She writes about exploring her African, Native American, and white ancestry; about finding herself within the segregated South, the Civil Rights movement, and the West Coast; about love, loss, motherhood, and life in general. One of the best collections of poetry I have ever read.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I LOVE her poetry! She reminds me of Maya Angelou, whom I also love. Their poems speak to my soul, like Langston Hughes' poetry does. Highly recommended!!
T.L. Cooper
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems from 1965-1990 Complete by Alice Walker examines life on Earth and the interactions of Earthlings, particularly human beings interaction with other Earthlings. Walker taps into emotions and attitudes that aren't always comfortable to face with an eloquence that keeps the reader riveted with anticipation even when wanting to say "not me. oh no not me." Walker creates images that transcend the moment and descriptions that take the reader deeper int ...more
Jan 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I mean, loved this book. It was the first book of grown-up poetry I remember ever reading, and I was thrilled to my bones to read about sex, black hair, poverty, revolution, and to read poetry about writing poetry. As an 11-year-old in suburban Salt Lake City--an 11-year-old self-described poet living in suburban Salt Lake City-- this book opened doors for me, and made me feel not so alone.

I reread it. It has shining, beautiful moments. It has a lot of sentimental value for
Ronald Wise
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A large collection of poetry by Walker from what seemed to be a darker, less optimistic or confident period of her life. Reading this collection after reading her later works, I could understand better the celebration which seemed evident in her 2003 poetry collection Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth and her 2004 novel Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart. The poetry in this collection seemed tinted with anger and despair. This book was added to my reading list, along with all her works ...more
Jerome K
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I wouldn't say Alice Walker is the best poet out there. But there's something in her poems that I haven't found in anyone else's. It's very effortless and artless even. Her poems are like fresh spring water, or clean morning sunlight. There's a lot of pain in here but it never overwhelms. Her poems are one big act of forgiveness. I prefer them to her fiction these days.
Jun 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a copy of this book to carry with me when I need a pick me up, and a signed hardcover that lives at home. I've had this book for 10 years at least, and still find Walker's words powerful and nuanced.
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not for the faint of heart. Revolutionary in the fearlessness that drips from every line. These works definitely provide insight into who Alice Walker unapologetically is and what life events have formed her voice and hence inspired her novels and stories.
Debby Zygielbaum
This is one of my favorite volumes of poetry ever. The title poem still raises the hairs on the back of my neck because it speaks such truth to me.
Rena Jane
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Walker takes me into her head and her heart in describing feelings and thoughts so eloquently.

I feel as though we could be soul sisters, though she's much further evolved than I am.
May 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mylibrary
absolutely fantastic. i bought the book purely based on reading the poem Warning and have not been disappointed since then.
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful collection of Walker's poetry. Some of these are perrenial favorites of mine, some seem to pop up when I need them most.
Nik McGrath
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I first read "A Woman is Not a Potted Plant" as a teenager, and it left a great impression on me. Re-reading Walker's poems have given me a renewed sense of their meaning.
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book I took with me into labor of birthing my son. I adore Alice Walker and wanted her poems with me through that experience. A wonderful collection.
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great collection of alice walker's poems. she frames each major body of work with what was going on in her life then, which has made me appreciate it even more. lovely.
Jan 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this continuously from cover to cover, which I never do for poetry. It struck a deep chord with me at a hard time in my life.
Jennifer Hollett
Some of my favorite poetry.
Though I may not always agree with Walker politically, her writing is IMO superb.
Emma Grace Madison
I am going to preface this by saying that I am not a poetry person at all. I chose this book for a project we were doing in my YA Literature class pertaining to African American authors. I am a fan of Alice Walker, so I figured I would try this out even though it was a collection of poems.
Some of them absolutely broke my heart and impacting my thoughts dramatically. There were a select few that changed the way I thought about poetry. However, the majority of them made me feel nothing at all. A l
Grady Ormsby
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetry fans
Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems, 1965-1990 Complete by Alice Walker is a thick volume covering over twenty-five years of poetry written by an author we usually think of in relation to her novels. Most are short. Many are haiku-like. There are some aphorisms. A few are dedicatory. The collection is divided into several sections each with an introduction by Walker. The early ones were inspired by the poet’s travels to East Africa in the summer of 1965. They are followed by a seri ...more
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dewey-decimals
There were several poems in the book that I liked and would read again. The book is five collections of poetry written over the years and Walker does a little introduction to what was happening in her life when she was writing each collection. For me, the first collection, "Once", is the strongest in the whole book. I enjoyed those poems more than any of the rest, I think because she really sets the mood with exploration and adventure and innocence and learning. More so than in the rest, when sh ...more
Maria Berg
This was the poetry I needed, especially after reading all of Half-LIght. While reading Alice Walker talking about enjoying a rainy morning, I went outside and enjoyed a bird nibbling from my bird feeder. It felt freeing and reminded me that nothing that is happening today is new, it is part of the daily struggle I have survived to good or ill thus far. I savored these poems.
Kirsty Stanley

I spotted this book on the shelf in the library and having loved The Color Purple when I read it, I was looking forward to reading Alice Walker's Poetry. I have to say that I was distinctly underwhelmed and it wasn't until I reached page 126 that I spotted a poem I connected to and there were 28 in the book that I'd like to read again. 15 of these came from her ' Horses make a landscape look more beautiful' collection, the other 24 from this collection would also be worth another look.
For me I c
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was looking forward to reading the poetry contained in this collection, although this was my first encounter with Walker's writing. I was disappointed, to say the least. There were several lines throughout the collection that moved me, however, I found myself mostly bored with the poems. Some of my favorite pieces in this include The Right to Life: What Can the White Man Say to the Black Woman? and Nobody's Darling. I believe this book is worth a read as it is a fast read but it is not one of ...more
Wendy Lu
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i've been pushing back against this low level despair (month three of the job search is getting rough, depression, ed flare ups, etc), and reading this reminded me of just how much poetry and writing do for our souls. Walker writes:

These poems reflect my delight at being once again in a Southern African-American environment, and also my growing reailzation that the sincerest struggle to change the world must start within. I was saved from despair countless times by the flowers and the trees I pl
Rogene Carter
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia, poetry, favorites
Words and inadequate to describe how timely, beautiful, and connected to the earth I found this collection to be. Definitely a lifetime favorite.
Jill Cicero
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful...
I so love Alice Walker.
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite poetry book.
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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
“On Stripping Bark from Myself

(for Jane, who said trees die from it)

Because women are expected to keep silent about
their close escapes I will not keep silent
and if I am destroyed (naked tree!) someone will
mark the spot
where I fall and know I could not live
silent in my own lies
hearing their 'how nice she is!'
whose adoration of the retouched image
I so despise.

No. I am finished with living
for what my mother believes
for what my brother and father defend
for what my lover elevates
for what my sister, blushing, denies or rushes
to embrace.

I find my own
small person
a standing self
against the world
an equality of wills
I finally understand.


My struggle was always against
an inner darkness: I carry within myself
the only known keys
to my death – to unlock life, or close it shut
forever. A woman who loves wood grains, the color
and the sun, I am happy to fight
all outside murderers
as I see I must.”
“When I no longer have your heart
I will not request your body
your presence
or even your polite conversation.
I will go away to a far country
separated from you by the sea
— on which I cannot walk —
and refrain even from sending
describing my pain.”
More quotes…