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Elegy for Etheridge


74 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations


  Hardcover / 9780807125441 / April 2000
  Paperback / 9780807125458 / April 2000

In Elegy for Etheridge, Pinkie Gordon Lane embraces the reader with a heartfelt invitation to shared human experiences. She quietly observes the panorama of life that surrounds us all, writing of family and friends, trees and owls, the exploitation of women on welfare, and the devastation of the natural environment. In so doing, she acknowledges the most intimate agenda of our lives, loves, and losses.

Although Pinkie Gordon Lane is a native of Philadelphia, the metaphorical imagery in her poetry—the primary component of her literary style—is inspired by the southern landscape, especially Louisiana, her home for over forty years. A sense of loss permeates this engaging collection, loss of both loved ones and of love. In “Songs to the Dialysis Machine,” Lane assumes the voice of her late husband, who—in the years before his death—depended on the device that “sucks the life-flowing blood / and sends it back / as a promised gift.” “Love Poems: Epitaph for the Blues” speaks of the pain and guilt—though not unmixed with joy—that pervade an illicit love affair: “Darkness gathers brightly / and my demon starlets dance / like tinseled ghosts on a saint’s night.” In the title poem, Lane laments the passing of black poet Etheridge Knight, who spent many of his years in prison.

Lane’s melodic verses beg to be read aloud, to be set to music. Her lyrical elegies affirm the late critic and poet Stephen Henderson’s assessment of her work as “a crucial reminder that we can’t afford to sacrifice any of our experience.”

Pinkie Gordon Lane , a former Louisiana State Poet Laureate, is the author of four other volumes of poetry, including Girl at the Window. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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