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Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful: Poems

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  557 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Alice Walker has always turned to poetry to express some of her most personal and deeply felt concerns. She has said that her poems-even the happy ones-emerge from an accumulation of sadness, when she stands again “in the sunlight.” “[This collection] has two fine strengths-a music that comes along sometimes, as sad and cheery as a lonely woman’s whistling-and Miss Walker’
Hardcover, 79 pages
Published September 1st 1988 by New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich (first published April 1st 1985)
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Bionic Jean
Most readers know of Alice Walker. She is a writer who is celebrated worldwide, having won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983 — the first African-American woman to do so — for “The Color Purple”. She has written many bestselling novels, short stories and essays and four children’s books, as well as ten volumes of poetry. Alice Walker has worked to address problems of injustice, inequality, and poverty as an activist, a teacher, and public intellectual.

Alice Walker’s first collection of poems
Perhaps Walker should be better known for her poetry than simply best known for The Color Purple. The poems are about race as well as being a woman. This kindle edition includes a brief biography with photos of the author. ...more
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pure-poetry
Some wonderful stuff here.

My three favorites?

The hopeful:


We alone can devalue gold
by not caring
if it falls or rises
in the marketplace.
Wherever there is gold
there is a chain, you know,
and if your chain
is gold
so much the worse
for you.

Feathers, shells
and sea-shaped stones
are all as rare.

This could be our revolution:
to love what is plentiful
as much as
what's scarce.


The angry:


The diamonds on Liz’s bosom
are not as bright
as his eyes
Very woke, political poems originally from 1979. Not always my cup of tea, though the free verse slides down easily. And I learned a fact that shocked me to the core: Martin Luther King Jr.’s mother was also assassinated (mentioned in the poem “Killers”). Six years after her son, while playing the organ at her church. How did I never know that?!

A favorite passage:

“I am the woman
offering two flowers
whose roots
are twin

Justice and Hope

Let us begin.” (from the first poem, “Remember?”)
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Read in Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 Complete

Actual rating: 3.75 stars

Yet again, Walker failed to live up to the musicality of her early poetry, but this collection had much more poetry and power than either Revolutionary Petunias or Goodnight Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning. Walker is definitely moving away from the "poetry as space-around-the-words" technique that she employed in her earlier work, and the final leap into a poetry of what is present is ref
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Reading poems by Alice Walker never cease to leave me eager to write—to capture what I am and what I feel about the world around me at this very moment. I imagine her at her desk, perhaps in a room of her own, working through her own pain and uncomfortable emotions and creating these lovely and accessible musings, often with a little twist like this one:

"This could be our revolution:
To love what is plentiful
as much as
what's scarce."


"On these blustery mornings
in a city
that could be wet
from my k
Julia Tracey
Some lovely poems here. The first 2/3 of the collection inspired and delighted me. I found the last third not weaker, but less interesting in general. That may be my opinion vs a general commentary on Alice Walker, whose work I love. Perhaps they are from a different period in her life. I just didn't feel the lure of the last section. The up-front poems are riveting. Enjoyed this, and will keep it on my poetry shelf. Which is a good thing.
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
phew. so beautiful and honest.


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 from even sending
describing my pain.
Oct 18, 2011 added it
(Also read on October 18, 2011)
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
The poems in this collection are generally short with fairly short lines. Many poems provide insights into the African-American experience or reflect on events of the 1960s and 1970s. I found the poetry enjoyable.
Sometimes startling, sometimes brutal, sometimes comforting. There's an energy in a lot of these poems that really made them burrow down into my consciousness, which is just what I want from poetry, anyway. My favorite poems were the ones that laid forth our relationship to the world (natural and social worlds, in particular) and that affirmed our power of redefinition of that relationship, which Walker demonstrated so elegantly in "We Alone":

We Alone

We alone can devalue gold
by not caring
if i
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A collection of poems by Alice Walker. I love how her spirit and ethical sense comes through each poem. My favorite poem is "We Alone" which calls us to eschew a love of precious metals and gems which cause ruin to the earth and the people who mine for these rare materials: "This could be our revolution: / to love what is plentiful / as much as / what's scarce."
Laura Jane
This collection of poems were very touching and had deep meaning in them. Walker continuously brought up several topics in her poems, such as discrimination, slavery, native americans, war, peace, and love. Her poems reach to the good and bad in everything and can relate to almost any reader.
Sep 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Shelves: md-book-club
This was a re-read for our Mother daughter book club. I love the imagery in her poetry. I can't wait to share this one with the girls.
T.Kay Browning
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. The awesome struggle of living, leading and loving in a society that constantly pushes you to the other. How do we honor anger and compassion in the same place, for the same people?
Alisa Wilhelm
Super-readable and still powerful and beautiful. Recommended for people who are interested in social justice and human rights.
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I registered a book at!
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just the poem, thinking about Lorraine Hansberry, was 5 stars for me. Inspiring, powerful. I can't believe that I'm just now reading this collection.
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great book of poems especially those about her indigenous ancestors.
Ben Ballin
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"It is not enough to be interminable;/ one must also be precise." Alice Walker's poems here turn a sharp focus onto the world of the 1970s and early 1980s: interpersonal relationships; the experience and politics of being a person, an African American woman, an African American, a woman: colonialism, exploitation and a love of the environment: childhood, growth and friendship.
They do so with a keen, self-critical and unflinching eye, a forensic sense of justice and a great generosity of spirit.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Eye opening and thought provoking. I enjoy reading the works of Alice Walker. She bring a timeless honesty to her poems that ring true throughout generations. I especially liked her poem "These Days" as it's a poem dedicated to friends and her daughter, expressing concern, praise, and questions they bring out in herself and the appreciation she feels toward them. A collection worth reading!
Thomas M.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
We Alone
(By Alice Walker)

We alone can devalue gold
by not caring
if it falls or rises
in the marketplace.
Wherever there is gold
there is a chain, you know,
and if your chain
is gold
so much the worse
for you.

Feathers, shells
and sea-shaped stones
are all as rare.

This could be our revolution:
to love what is plentiful
as much as
what's scarce.
Stefan Grieve
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Poems written with grace and dignity, some of them powerful in there intelligent simplicity, some of them clearly written with a well placed anger, awareness and heightened awareness. Graceful and poetic, they can sometimes take your breath away...
Janet E. Rash
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Poems that tell about the lives of black women, relate observations about white civilization in America, and ask us to imagine something kinder and better. Highly recommended.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This was my first experience with Walker's poetry, and the collection was hit and miss for me. Some of the poems didn't connect with me, and others did very much. "Poem at 39" was my favorite because it hit me in the gut. That's what I want from poetry.
William Lawrence
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I've read a couple of Alice Walker's novels, and while I respect their literary value, they just don't bring it to five stars for me. BUT her poetry, wow, it speaks to me, it excites me, it reflects an entire world.
Donna Rodham
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
Some of my favorite poems are in this book.
Ryan Acosta-Fox
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a privilege it is to exist in the world the same time as Alice Walker.
Jes Collins
Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I really like the first half of this book, not so much the second half. It does contain my favorite quote of all time so I can’t complain.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading these poems but I'm still not a poetry person.
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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

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“Surely the earth can be saved
by all the people
who insist
on love.”
“If this were a courageous country,
it would ask Gloria to lead it
since she is sane and funny and beautiful and smart
and the National Leaders we've always had
are not.
When I listen to her talk about women's rights
children's rights
men's rights
I think of the long line of Americans
who should have been president, but weren't.
Imagine Crazy Horse as president. Sojourner Truth.
John Brown. Harriet Tubman. Black Elk or Geronimo.
Imagine President Martin Luther King confronting
the youthful "Oppie" Oppenheimer. Imagine President
Malcolm X going after the Klan. Imagine President Stevie
Wonder dealing with the "Truly Needy."
Imagine President Shirley Chisholm, Ron Dellums, or
Sweet Honey in the Rock
dealing with Anything.
It is imagining to make us weep with frustration,
as we languish under real estate dealers, killers,
and bad actors.”
More quotes…