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You Are My Joy and Pain

Love Poems

Naomi Long Madgett

African American Studies, Poetry

Made in Michigan Writers Series

Paperback
Available October 2020
ISBN: 9780814348017
Pages: 80 Size: 6x9
eBOOK
Available October 2020
ISBN: 9780814348024

You Are My Joy and Pain is Naomi Long Madgett’s latest and possibly most endearing poetry collection. Bill Harris, a 2011 Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist, said of the book, "Even with the evidence of over a half-century or more of first-rate poetic artistry by Madgett, this collection is a breath-arresting surprise and delight. Poem-by-poem and section-by-section amaze. Each poem in the collection is a master class in technique and in her ability to transpose an idea into a tightly composed example of the craft of poetry."

You Are My Joy and Pain receives its name from the Billie Holiday song "Don’t Explain" and is divided into three parts. The first part, "A Promise of Sun," contains fourteen poems relating to the hopeful and joyful beginning of a new relationship. The second part, "Trinity: A Dream Sequence," consists of twenty poems with religious imagery and encompasses both the beginning and the end of a relationship. The third part, "Stormy Weather," includes thirty-two poems that relate to the heartbreaking experience of a love gone wrong. These are not love poems in the abstract—the richness with which Madgett writes hints at the firsthand experience of a lifetime of loving.

While several anthologies of love poems exist in the world, it is rare to find a single-author collection that so closely examines love in all of its messy and beautiful layers. Readers will identify with the hope and disappointment that Madgett presents in these poems.

Naomi Long Madgett, Poet Laureate of Detroit since 2001, is author of ten books of poetry, most recently Connected Islands. She has edited two anthologies, including Adam of Ife: Black Women in Praise of Black Men, and is author of a textbook, A Student’s Guide to Creative Writing, as well as her autobiography, Pilgrim Journey. Madgett is professor emerita of English at Eastern Michigan University.