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Antebellum Dream Book

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  8 reviews
In surprising turns through different American cities, mindsets, and eras, and through the strange rhythms of dreaming, the celebrated poet Elizabeth Alexander composes her own kind of improvisational jazz. Antebellum Dream Book offers a music of resistances as well as soaring flights of fancy: the conflicts of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and after; a mother's s
Paperback, 96 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Graywolf Press
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May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Accessible and satisfying poems about race, the early days of motherhood, and a fertile dream life. The long central section is full of dreams – presumably actual ones that she had during the composition – recounted in remarkable and often very humorous detail. She writes of making love with Nat King Cole, taking a workshop led by Toni Morrison, and being in prison in Baltimore. Other poems are about black communities in D.C. (where she grew up) and Philadelphia, Muhammad Ali (in 12 “rounds”), a ...more
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021, poetry-2021
This is my first experience with Elizabeth Alexander's poetry and it certainly won't be my last! There were so many poems in this book that I just loved... 1968, Paul Says, The female seer will burn upon this pyre, and Postpartum Dream #12: Appointment to name a few. Such moving writing. I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book and letting Alexander open your eyes to new things! ...more
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If responsibility begins in dreams, this is a very responsible book; also funny, weird in the best ways, brilliant, luminous, and moving (especially the last poem.
May 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Will by: Poetry Off the Shelf
There are a couple poems which really seem to work—especially through Alexander's ability to set a fully-realized scene with a tiny palmful of words. Unfortunately, this brevity isn't always such a blessing; sometimes it makes the poems feel like they're rough drafts, full of initial bursts of inspiration but also full of perplexing movements and endings. Her poems use words sparingly though they hardly feel like they've been shorn down by multiple revisions. And then there are Alexander's const ...more
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Dreams of famous people, power and some nightmares, too. I was interested in reading her poetry after reading her essay in the New Yorker about her husband's death. Good imagery for a cold dark night. ...more
Jun 15, 2010 rated it liked it
I was disappointed. This IS a book of dreams. Too many of these dreams lack the musicality and the universality that turns a dream into a poem.
Lesley Looper
Mar 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, poetry
Interesting collection of poems, many with an African American theme. One poem mentioned the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which I know. One of my favorite poems in this collection was "Paul Says." ...more
Jan 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a solid readable collection. A nice contrast of past history and the present.
Bec Rindler
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Elizabeth Alexander is a Quantrell Award-winning American poet, essayist, playwright, university professor, and scholar of African-American literature and culture. She teaches English language/literature, African-American literature, and gender studies at Yale University. Alexander was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard during the 2007-08 academic year.

Alexander's po

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