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Cover for The Shine Poems

The Shine Poems

Calvin Forbes


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Shine is an African American folk character who emerged after World War I in toasts, blues, folk poetry, and children's rhymes. In his new book of poems, Calvin Forbes reinvents Shine, giving him a girlfriend, Glow, and a child, Shade. He renders the figure more melancholy and adds traces of the surreal and slapstick--accessories "typical of the folk dibbling and dabbling as the tradition is passed along."

While only the last quarter of The Shine Poems concern Shine, all of the poems reflect a similar sensibility. They share the narrative threads of family relationships and personal and social history while they test the full possibilities of colloquial language and speech rhythms in verse. With its songs, blues, and quick, witty epigrams, The Shine Poems is a collection clear, firm, funny, and playful even as it takes that inevitable turn in the road toward the somber.

LSU Press, 9780807126660, 64pp.

Publication Date: February 1, 2001

About the Author

Calvin Forbes's first book of poems is Blue Monday. He is an associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he teaches writing, literature, and jazz history. A recipient of grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, he has been a Fulbright teaching fellow and for several years served on the board of the Poetry Center in Chicago.