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Dove, Rita. American Smooth: Poems.

DOVE, Rita. American smooth, poems. Norton. 142p. c2004. 0-393-32744-2. $13.95. SA

Pulitzer Prize-winner and former US Poet Laureate Rita Dove defines her self-coined title phrase as "a form of ballroom dancing derived from the traditional Standard dances (e.g., Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango), in which the partners are free to release each other from the closed embrace and dance without any physical contact, thus permitting improvisation and individual expression."

Many of the previously published poems do not fit obviously into the theme of dance rhythms, though they definitely capture diverse aspects of American culture. The sequence "Not Welcome Here" focuses on African American soldiers and soldier-musicians of WW I, while "Twelve Chairs" brings to life the occupants of 12 marble jury chairs in the lobby of the Federal Court House in Sacramento. Although many of Dove's poems are short and easily digestible, her longer, more sophisticated pieces may render her less popular with YAs than later laureates Billy Collins and Ted Kooser. Jessica Swaim, Cataloger, Cherry Creek Sch., Denver, CO

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.
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Author:Swaim, Jessica
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2006
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