Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

I read Alice Walker’s new book of poems Hard Times Require Furious Dancing. I love her book titles.

I’m not good at thinking up clever titles but Walker is. Look at some of these:
Possessing the Secret of Joy (don’t you just want to run and read this?
The Color Purple
You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down
The Way Forward is with a Broken Heart
There is a Flower at the Tip of my Nose Smelling Me
Living by the Word
A Poem Traveled down my Arm

About Hard Times, she said, “I have learned to dance. It isn’t that I didn’t know how to dance before; everyone in my community knew how to dance, even those with several left feet. I just didn’t know how basic it is for maintaining balance. That Africans are always dancing (in their ceremonies and rituals) shows an awareness of this. It struck me one day, while dancing, that the marvelous moves African Americans are famous for on the dance floor came about because the dancers, especially in the old days, were contorting away various knots of stress. Some of the lower-back movements handed down to use that have seemed merely sensual were no doubt crated after a day’s work bending over a plow or hoe on a slave driver’s plantation.”

My 11 year old is suffering from a broken heart. It’s hard to believe it can start so early and that she can feel it so deeply but that’s the kind of kid she is. A deep one. We’ll have many more of these broken hearts to come, I fear. And so I told her that we have to dance furiously. And the more it hurts, the more we’ll dance. Maybe she’ll remember this moving forward. It’s sound advice to face all troubles and fears with furious dancing.

I will not Deny, Alice Walker, In Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

“I will not deny
my lips
their smile
I will not deny
my heart
its sorrow
I will not deny
my eyes
their tears
I will not deny
my hair
the wildness
of my age

It is
profound
selfishness

I will not deny
me nothing
of myself.”

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