Lions Don't Eat Us
Book: Lions Don't Eat Us , by Constance Quarterman Bridges, Sonia Sanchez, ISBN10: 1555974546, ISBN13: 9781555974541, Graywolf Press, September 2006, Paperback
CONSTANCE QUARTERMAN BRIDGES retired from the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 1987. She has won two fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
The winner of the 2005 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, Lions Don't Eat Us introduces a fierce and wise new voice
There's nothing to be afraid of.
Don't ever let boys kiss you.
Be nice. One day you'll get married.
Keep your legs closed. Dance.
from "Grandmother Said"
In one of Aesop's Fables, the Roman slave Androcles befriends the emperor's lion prior to his trial and thereby survives certain death in the arena. Constance Quarterman Bridges's father tells this story to his children and says, "My Babies, we're special people, lions don't eat us." In this remarkable debut collection, Bridges chronicles her ancestrypart born out of slavery, part descended from Cherokee heritagefrom her great-grandparents "jumping over the broom" in Civil War Virginia to her father's journey in the Great Migration northward in 1916. The result is an unequivocally American story.
Lions Don't Eat Us is the 2005 winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, given to the best first collection by an African-American poet.
The New York Times - Joel Brouwer
Bridges's poems are sometimes marred by stock phrases and ideas: a stoked cookstove "glows red like a setting sun"; a Togolese woman Bridges sees from a bus window is imagined to be gesturing "in universal language. / I love you. Welcome home!" But any such complaints are more than offset by the captivating narratives and hard-earned insights to be found in this elegantly constructed collection.
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