Head Off & Split
Head Off & Split
Winner of 2011 National Book Award for Poetry
Winner of 2012 GLCS Award for Poetry
Winner of 2012 SIBA Book Award for Poetry
Nominee for 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry
The poems in Nikky Finney's breathtaking new collection Head Off & Split sustain a sensitive and intense dialogue with emblematic figures and events in African American life: from civil rights matriarch Rosa Parks to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, from a brazen girl strung out on lightning to a terrified woman abandoned on a rooftop during Hurricane Katrina. Finney's poetic voice is defined by an intimacy that holds a soft yet exacting eye on the erotic, on uncanny political and family events, like her mother's wedding waltz with South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, and then again on the heartbreaking hilarity of an American president's final State of the Union address.
Artful and intense, Finney's poems ask us to be mindful of what we fraction, fragment, cut off, dice, dishonor, or throw away, powerfully evoking both the lawless and the sublime.
--Bruce Weigl, author of What Saves Us
"In her stupendous fourth volume, Head Off & Split, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for poetry, Nikky Finney instantly becomes America's exemplar of how to put the skeletons into poetic truth." —John Freeman, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"This fourth collection from Finney . . . should prove hard to forget. Against other black poets' interest in congregations, Finney is drawn to defiant individualists, to black women who let no one tell them what to do." —Publishers Weekly
"Finney’s dedication to what can be salvaged, her unfaltering consciousness and conscientiousness, and her dedication to the sublime power of language demand our attention. This fourth book is stunning, a definite must-read." —Indiana Review
". . . a stunning work of graceful remembrance." —Laura Pegram, The Millions
"This is a stunning book; the sort that reminds the reader of some of poetry’s highest aspirations." —NewPages.com
"Poetry can be so many things in the right hands. It can elevate the senses, challenge perceptions, or increase understanding of complex topics. Nikky Finney’s Head Off & Split, which won the National Book Award for poetry in 2011, does all that and more with poems grounded in reality, yet also stretching the limits of imagination in regards to imagery and symbolism." —La Toya Hankins, Black Lesbian Literary Collective