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 Alice Walker

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Brief Bio

Alice Walker, a name etched in the annals of literature, is a renowned writer, poet, and activist. Born on February 9, 1944, in Eatonton, Georgia, Walker's rural southern upbringing significantly influenced her writing and activism, a journey marked by a distinctive blend of personal and political narrative.

Raised during the era of legal racial segregation in the United States, Walker was the youngest of eight children in a sharecropping family. Her mother's tenacity in the face of hardship had a profound impact on young Alice. In fact, the resilience and strength of black women became a recurrent theme in Walker's works, testament to the unbreakable spirit of her own mother.

Walker's life took a tragic turn when, at eight years old, she was blinded in one eye due to a BB gun accident, an incident that left her feeling isolated and led her to find solace in writing. As she once mentioned, "Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence."

Walker's academic prowess earned her a scholarship to Spelman College in Atlanta, and later, she transferred to Sarah Lawrence College in New York. In college, her writings were influenced by explorations of civil rights, human rights, and personal identities. Following her graduation in 1965, Walker moved to Mississippi, immersing herself in the Civil Rights Movement.

In the early 70s, Walker started teaching and simultaneously published her first collection of poetry, "Once," and her debut novel, "The Third Life of Grange Copeland." These works began to define her unique narrative style, merging an eloquent exploration of racial and gender issues with profound personal insights.

Walker's most acclaimed work, "The Color Purple," was published in 1982. This epistolary novel won her the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983, making Walker the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It was a powerful testament to Walker's evolving narrative style, blending elements of racial struggle, feminine resilience, and social justice, themes that resonated with readers worldwide.

While Walker is celebrated for her prose, her poetry is equally compelling, touching upon similar themes. Walker's poetic journey began in earnest with "Once," published in 1968. Her poems-intimate, poignant, and politically charged-challenged societal norms, inviting readers into her personal experiences while highlighting broader societal issues.

In her second collection, "Revolutionary Petunias" (1973), Walker continued to intertwine the personal with the political. Her poem "Be Nobody's Darling" emerged as a feminist anthem, advocating individuality and resistance against societal expectations. Meanwhile, the poem "Revolutionary Petunias," named after a hardy flower, symbolizes the perseverance and resilience of black women in a society marred by racial and gender prejudice.

Walker's 1983 poetry collection, "Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful," showcased the poet's knack for incorporating natural imagery into her works, subtly blending this with social commentary. The collection included standout pieces like "Good Night, Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning," a deeply personal poem addressing her father's death.

In "Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 Complete," Walker compiled a comprehensive anthology of her poetic work. This collection is a testament to her stylistic evolution over the decades, consistently presenting her skillful interweaving of personal and societal narratives.

While Walker's poetry varies in structure and style, it is rooted in the shared themes of resilience in the face of adversity, the beauty and brutality of life, and the inalienable rights of individuals, particularly women and African Americans. Her poetry often uses simple, clear language, rendering it both accessible and profound. Whether it's a poignant lament about a father's passing or a fervent call for social change, Walker's verse strikes a chord with readers of all backgrounds, making her poetry as timeless as it is evocative.

In the contemporary era, Walker continues to write and remains an active voice in social and political discourse. She is not just a writer but a beacon of resistance, resilience, and reformation. Her work, both in prose and poetry, forms a profound tapestry of the black experience, gender politics, and the struggle for social justice. It is this combination that has cemented her legacy, transforming Alice Walker into an enduring symbol of the power of the written word. As Walker herself puts it, "Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness."

Poems - 25 in all

Alice Walker

We Alone
Expect Nothing
I Said to Poetry
The Old Men Used to Sing
When Golda Meir was in Africa

Alice Walker - 3     ~ New ~

Our Martyr
Before I Leave The Stage
The World We Want Is Us
The Tree Of Life Has Fallen

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