The Fields of Praise by Marilyn Nelson
New and Selected Poems

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In The Fields of Praise, Marilyn Nelson claims as subjects the life of the spirit, the vicissitudes of love, and the African American experience and arranges them as white pebbles marking our common journey toward a "monstrous love / that wants to make the world right." Nelson is a poet of stunning power, able to bring alive the most rarified and subtle of experiences. A slave destined to become a minister preaches sermons of heartrending eloquence and wisdom to a mule. An old woman scrubbing over a washtub receives a personal revelation of what Emancipation means: "So this is freedom: the peace of hours like these." Memories of the heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen in the face of aerial combat abroad and virulent racism at home bring a speaker to the sudden awareness of herself as the daughter "of a thousand proud fathers."

About Marilyn Nelson

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Marilyn Nelson's other poetry titles include Magnificat; The Homeplace, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; and Mama's Promises. A recipient of the Annisfield-Wolf Award, she is professor of English at the University of Connecticut at Storrs.
Published May 1, 1997 by Lsu Press. 224 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Included are a series of parables about the holy figure, Abba Jacob, whose teachings are delivered in taut, colloquial verse: in one, after he gives up in his fight with an angel, ""she took his hand in hers/ and put her arm around his neck./ Then he heard the music."" The final section, with its...

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