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Dark Blonde: Poems

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Waring has worked as a neo-natal intensive care nurse and as Writer-in-Residence at Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C. Her first collection of poetry, Refuge, won the Associated Writing Program's Award for Poetry in 1989, the Washington Prize in 1991, and was cited by Publishers Weekly as one of the best books of 1990. Her second collection Dark Blonde r ...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published July 1st 1997 by Sarabande Books
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4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  72 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was published in 1997. It was Waring's second book and a search on the internet leads me to believe it was her last. She is not even represented on the Poetry Foundation website or This is such a shame. It's a shame to see someone with talent and something worth saying stop writing. "Gripping" is not a word I would normally use to describe poetry but that word came to mind as I read through this book. These poems contain tension and suspense. Waring worked as a nurse and man ...more
Writer's Relief
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Waring does not reflect on her emotions and present them in a neat little package. These poems are tumultuous and full of heat and rage. Her poetry is a battering ram to the heart, begging to be felt and understood. Many poets compose careful, precise language to surround an otherwise unexciting topic. There is something to be said for concocting a beautiful, enjoyable-to-read poem around a flower, bowl of fruit, or rainbow trout. But Belle Waring is not that poet, and DARK BLONDE is not that pe ...more
Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Reading Waring's poems is like listening to jazz-the words tumble forth, they slide and glide, tension builds.
Sarabande Books
Jan 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Winner of the First Annual Larry Levis Reading Prize and the 1997 Poetry Center Book Award

Recipient of the 1997 Poetry Center Book Award (SFSU) and the First Annual Levis Reading Prize
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Persona poems; difficult to read at times as a collection because of the entrance/ exit of the speakers
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
This collection was given to me as a birthday present and I have to say that I really enjoyed it - it was very visceral in a lot of places, focusing on a lot of medical scenarios and historical scenarios that peeled away to a deeper tenderness and poetic examination of life and loss. I loved that the work itself seemed almost conversational, narrative more than poetic, but still truly a work of poetry - it seemed less lost in poetic cliche or the weaving of images, and more like having a convers ...more
May 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I first read this magical, almost overwhelming book in the summer of 2004, a time when I was more vulnerable than ever before to the topics this book addresses--the misogyny and cruelty of the American healthcare system, poverty, oppression, the mortality of every person. Ah, memories. Kind it isn't, but Dark Blonde opened my eyes like never before to what poetry could do to make readers care about the problems we most want to avoid. How Belle Waring even managed to write these pieces is beyond ...more
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
This is powerful writing. Tough and tender. Many of these poems deal with difficult, even shocking, subject matter.

The voice is authentic, the language natural but intense. Amazing vocabulary. Literate. Jazzy. Informed by hard times, Some very gritty tales from the hospital (the narrator — and the author — is a nurse).

Nobody gets off easy — not the damaged, not the irresponsible and sometimes brutal perpetrators, not the observer (often a participant).

Belle Waring — oh, where is she now? I hop
May 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Urban romatics
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Hands down my favorite contemporary poet, Belle Waring tackles all kinds of stuff - teaching, working as a nurse, heartbreak, depression, alcoholic dads and feral children - with a jazzy intelligent coolness. I admit: I've ripped her off unabashedly in my own poetry.
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Simply said, Waring is my favorite female poet.
Sheri Mcclure baker
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This may be my favorite book of poems. Waring's easy voice makes the painful and the beautiful accessible to us all.
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Read this book years ago and it is one of my favorite poetry books. She is a nurse and has some poignant professional poems that nurses love to share about their work.
Cindy Cunningham
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I love this poet--Greg Donovan turned me onto her about ten years ago and I keep hoping she'll write more. She is a nurse who writes poetry and her language and subject matter inspires me.
Lauren Short
Apr 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sarabande
Many of the medical-themed poems were wonderful. It made me wish the collection were more focused as a whole on that subject.
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Poetry Readers Ch...: Dark Blonde by Belle Waring 12 10 Feb 07, 2015 01:55PM