Books for Independent Thinkers

Bloodaxe Books

Picasso, I Want My Face Back

by Grace Nichols

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Art, landscape and memory are interwoven strands in the fabric of Grace Nichols’ latest collection, Picasso, I Want My Face Back.

The book opens with a long poem in the voice of Dora Maar, who, as Picasso’s muse and mistress, was the inspiration for his iconic painting, 'The Weeping Woman'. The poems are almost interlocking reflections that echo the cubistic manner of the painting and allow us to enter the shifting surfaces of Dora Maar’s mind and her journey of self reclamation.

"Not only rich music, an easy lyricism, but also grit, and earthy honesty, a willingness to be vulnerable and clean."
Gwendolyn Brooks

"Grace Nichols has wit, acidity, tenderness, any number of gifts at her disposal."
Jeanette Winterson

"Grace Nichols came to Britain from Guyana at the age of 27 and she has carried the warmth of her Caribbean sensibility through many a cold English winter. Her poems celebrate sensuality and generosity and attack petty mean-spiritedness… Deeply Caribbean in sensibility, she writes sensitively of other traditions, especially Africa and India."
Peter Forbes

"From her first collection in 1983, I Is a Long Memoried Woman, she has been a strong presence in the linguistic interweave between the Caribbean and the UK. Her poetry and prose move easily between the poised world of Western culture, Old World history and myth, and the gritty rhythms of the Caribbean everyday… There is wit, irony and passion… real poise"
Michelene Wandor, Poetry Review

Grace Nichols was born in Guyana, and has lived in Britain since 1977. Her first collection, I is a Long Memoried Woman (1983) won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. Her later poetry collections include The Fat Black Woman’s Poems (1984), Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman (1989), Sunrise (1996), winner of the Guyana Prize, and Startling the Flying Fish (2006), poems which tell the story of the Caribbean, along with numerous poetry books for younger readers, including Come on into My Tropical Garden (1988), Give Yourself a Hug (1994) and Everybody Got a Gift (2005). She has published two books with Bloodaxe: her latest collection, Picasso, I Want My Face Back (2009), and I Have Crossed an Ocean: Selected Poems (2010), published on the occasion of her 60th birthday. She lives in Sussex with the poet John Agard and their family.

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