By Nikki Giovanni
A set of 80 all new poems, Acolytes is enormously Nikki Giovanni, yet assorted. no longer softened, yet extra encouraged through love, occasion, stories or even nostalgia. She goals her intimate and sparing phrases at friends and family, the deaths of heroes and neighbors, favourite foodstuff and sweet, nature, libraries, and theatre. yet in among, the deep and edgy sense of right and wrong that has outlined her for many years shines via whilst she writes approximately Rosa Parks, typhoon Katrina, and Emmett Till's disappearance, leaving doubtless that Nikki has now not traded one procedure for one more, yet easily made room for either.
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Adam and Eve knew such perfection once,
God's finger within the cloud, and at the ground
Nothing yet springtime, not anything else at all.
But in our fallen kingdom the place the blood hunts
For blood, and rises on the searching sound,
What can we understand of lasting because the fall?
Who has no longer, within the oil and warmth of youth,
Thought of the flourishing of the almond tree,
The grasshopper, and the failing of desire,
And notion his tongue may well pierce the secrecy
Of the six-pointed starlight, and may choir
A secret-voweled, unutterable truth?
--from "A Poem for Julia"
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Additional info for Acolytes
2, spring 1970, pp. 33-38. Kitchen, Judith, Understanding William Stafford, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1989. Nathan, Leonard, “One Vote,” New England Review and Breadloaf Quarterly, Vol. 5, 1983, pp. 521-24, excerpt reprinted in On William Stafford: The Worth of Local Things, edited by Tom Andrews, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1993. Nordstrom, Lars, Theodore Roethke, William Stafford, and Gary Snyder: The Ecological Metaphor as Transformed Regionalism, Stockholm, Sweden: Uppsala, 1989.
Wright grew up during the Depression and spent his entire youth witnessing the effects of a society that glamorizes wealth and power on the poor and powerless. He uses this poem and many others to portray the way he views the barren lives of blue-collar men and women: they drink too much, they are lonely, they are ashamed, and they find their only comfort in dreaming of a better life. Most of Wright’s work expresses the opinion that those dreams do not often come true. The brief, simple descriptions of the men who sit in the stands at the football game (“Polacks nursing long beers,” “Negroes in the blast furnace,” “the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel”) actually reveal ample, complex problems in their dayto-day existence.
While men like the poet’s own father and those in the poem go to work in factories, drink in bars at night, and avoid going home to their lonely wives, there are others who enjoy easy jobs, make lots of money, and live happy lives at home. Wright was not naive enough to believe that wealthy people are always content, but he did see a sharp dividing line between those who made it to the top and those who 1 9 A u t u m n B e g i n s i n M a r t i n s Topics for Further Study • Consider whether you enjoy more and understand better poems that are written in free verse or in a formal (rhymed, metered) style.
Acolytes by Nikki Giovanni