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Virginia Quarterly Review - Winter 2004

  • Issue Number: Volume 80 Number 1
  • Published Date: Winter 2004

If the heavy theme of this issue, Integrated Education in America, puts you off, the author of its first essay will draw you right back in. Toni Morrison’s memoir on segregation in the American South is characteristically unflinching and beautiful. Equally compelling is a collection of collages by Romare Bearden from the 1960s, which depict, cubistically, the agonies and ironies of the African American condition at that time. A suite of reactionary poems by Kevin Young accompanies them, adding an additional layer of interest. Included, presumably, by virtue of their merit, not their theme, Quan Berry’s poems are an elegant, tightly crafted delight. This is verse of the very highest caliber—emotionally astute, lyric and memorable. In “Ultrasound as Palinode,” for example, he likens the concept of seeing his unborn niece to the process of creating poetry. In addition to scads more quality literature, the issue is rounded out nicely by book reviews, both explicatory and concise. The “Editor’s Choice” happens, happily, to be the latest tome by Henry Wiencek, a treasured acquaintance of mine. His An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America is lauded as insightful, firmly allied to “fact over conjecture.” If your appetite for histories of race in America is whetted after reading this Virginia Quarterly Review, which I’ll wager it will be, Mr. Wiencek should be your next good read. [The Virginia Quarterly Review, University of Virginia, One West Range, P.O. Box 400223, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904. E-mail: . Single issue $5.] - SRP

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Review Posted on January 31, 2004

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