A brilliant new collection by Elizabeth Alexander, whose "poems bristle with the irresistible quality of a world seen fresh" (Rita Dove, The Washington Post)
Too many people have seen too much
and lived to tell, or not tell, or tell
with their silent, patterned bodies,
their glass eyes, gone legs, flower-printed flesh . . .
-from "Notes From"
In her fourth remarkable collection, Elizabeth Alexander voices the outcries, dreams, and histories of an African American tradition that goes back to the slave rebellion on the Amistad and to the artists' canvases of nineteenth-century America. In persona poems, historical narratives, jazz riffs, sonnets, elegies, and a sequence of ars poetica, American Sublime is Alexander's most vivid and varied collection and affirms her place as one of America's most lively and gifted writers.
"Alexander is an unusual thing, a sensualist of history, a romanticist of race. She weaves biography, history, experience, pop culture and dream. Her poems make the public and private dance together."--Chicago Tribune
American Sublime: Poems