Read For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange Online


From its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award–winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. Passionate and fearless, Shange’s words reveal what it meant to be of color andFrom its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award–winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. Passionate and fearless, Shange’s words reveal what it meant to be of color and female in the twentieth century. First published in 1975, when it was praised by The New Yorker for “encom­passing . . . every feeling and experience a woman has ever had,” for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf will be read and performed for generations to come. Here is the complete text, with stage directions, of a groundbreaking dramatic prose poem written in vivid and powerful language that resonates with unusual beauty in its fierce message to the world....

Title : For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781451624205
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 112 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf Reviews

  • Kei
    2019-04-20 18:34

    [EDITED TO CLARIFY A FEW THINGS]I thoroughly understand poetic license and the art of using vernacular in literature. Langston Hughes has taught me well. ;-)February, 2011This book is not a novel. It is a choreopoem of fictional stories told by characters who all represent a color worn, i.e. Lady in Red, Lady in Yellow, Lady in Purple, etc. The title alone being the first clue, this is also not a timeless piece. I’ll just get right to why I give this book one star. I despise intentional misspellings of words. It is one of my more severe pet peeves. I never wanted to read this book in the past because seeing the word “enough” spelled “enuf” irked me tremendously. Throughout the book, all of the poems are told in broken English (because that's obviously the only way to hear a black voice in literature) and lots of words are either misspelled or not spelled at all, for example, “could” is spelled “cd.” There is an art to capturing the true voice of a character; and if that character is "ill-spoken," then there is a way to transfer that voice and still have it flow nicely as words on a page. I didn't like the way it was done in this piece; however there are many [BLACK] authors who have mastered this technique and have done so beautifully and provocatively -- and not just for the sake of showing a character's inability otherwise.I don’t like the word “colored” to describe a person. I don’t respect the idea of taking an oppressive word and capitalizing off of it; and capitalizing off of the grief that accompanies the word’s connotation. Apparently, there are only a few stories to tell about "colored girls" and, given the collections of books available to the masses that are along the same order; those stories are all disgusting and sad. These colored girls are tormented souls and maybe they’re so tormented because they refer to and see themselves as “colored,” because honestly, I must profess that being a black woman is really not that big of a deal. In fact,I quite enjoy it and don’t see my skin color as a direct attachment to all things sorrowful, painful, diseased, abused, and oppressed. The book’s title says “For Colored Girls,” but perhaps, this book is not for me. I am not saying my personal life has been all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but how many people of ANY shade can say that about their own lives?“But this is real." I know, I know... and my response to that is this: Women, if this is what you’re constantly attaching yourselves to, then you allow it to become your stigma, thus YOUR reality. Women... WOMEN go through this, NOT just “colored” women. There are so many women who will read these poems and relate to everything except the skin tone. So why is it that some authors have chosen to make universal experiences exclusive to one race and one sex? ”Sing a black girl’s song!” Let’s keep our sorrow alive and let the world cry with us. And then what? We hope that "colored girls" who are actually not children, but grown women, will make better decisions in life? Will they go to college, use birth control and condoms, and stop dating guys named "Beaux Willie?" People really don't care about this being "real." They read it, say "ooh that's so sad" and go on sipping their lattes, while we stay and fight the preconceived stigmas... the same stories told in various forms of mass media over and over again until one image is indelibly printed in the minds of the masses. In addition to the aforementioned, main foibles, many of the characters needed to take responsibility for their own poor choices in the scenarios, yet they failed to do so in their own deliveries. For example, the characters Beaux Willie and Crystal, Crystal tells the story. She had been with Beaux Willie since she was thirteen years old. He went away to war and returned crazy and abusive. He was also jobless. Together, they had two children and she worked to support him and her children. At some point, Beaux Willie decided he wanted to marry Crystal, who suddenly realized that she shouldn’t marry him. He was no longer good enough. She told him this while calling him all kinds of names including theN-word.So... he took her children and dangled them out of an open window five stories high. He asked her if she loved him and if so, will she marry him? And Crystal whispered a response... Listen... [Anyone with the smallest dose of common sense knows that you should always go along with crazy people. Tell them whatever they want to hear until they calm down and step out of their moment of craziness]. Well, Beaux Willie didn't like whatever she whispered and in response, he dropped the kids out of the window. He murdered their children. And this is what everyone is calling realistic? Can it happen? Yeah, I’m sure it can, but I don’t know a black woman on this planet who would have allowed that to happen without a knife being jabbed deep into Beaux Willie’s back. The children wouldn’t have been the only ones murdered that day. I am also disgusted by the people on the street who stood there and watched the children dangling from the window. No one thought to run into their own house and grab a mattress or something huge and soft for the kids to land on? Or no one thought to gather around underneath where they were hanging, to at least try to catch them? This could have prevented their death and maybe they would have only ended up with twisted ankles or a broken arm.And so these are the reasons why I do not love this piece. When a fictional story contains extreme, unbelievable, preventive stupidity, I am impatient and completely unsympathetic towards the characters. I am not bribed into feeling emotionally attached simply because I am massivley told that I should be, since I am "of color."

  • Seth
    2019-04-24 21:39

    Shange's work here is highly provocative. English dorks will complain about the "typos" and misspellings. Apparently, these readers have never heard of poetic license, nor are they aware that the piece is meant to be PERFORMED, not merely read. Traditionalists might complain that this work is unfair to men. Apparently, they did not even bother to read the first three words of the title.For the open-minded exists a sublime piece of poetic verse, musical and cacophonous, filled with unbridled emotion. Is unbridled emotion something admirable in art? Of course it is. This isn't an archetypical image of black women, and it definitely isn't a ethical manifesto. It is, so far as I understand, a highly passionate expression of the joys and pains of being a black woman in a time of racism and patriarchy; to be diminished, unreasonably, to the lowest ranks of society. To be in constant fear of abuse, all the while being unable to express that fear and callousness at the risk of appearing resentful and bitter.Shange does not come across as resentful OR bitter, but instead an honest voice in a world of social turmoil and discordance. Her piece is highly chaotic and yet organized, like the frantic unity of a free jazz composition. Being a white male suburbanite, I fully realize my inability to relate to every passage here, but what exists is room for empathy and understanding, and the writer does her best to find the overlapping points of human experience, resulting in a highly poignant yet commonly overlooked work (no, the Tyler Perry film doesn't count as exposure). If you feel threatened or insulted by this for any reason, perhaps some self-examination is in order. Ntozake doesn't ask you to agree, she asks you to feel.

  • Izetta Autumn
    2019-05-01 22:15

    The ish. A pivotal work in theatre. I once heard Ntozake Shange explain that one of her goals as a writer was to break down the English language, to undo, redo, replay, and rework the English language, in such a way that its power for white supremacist goals and idea transfer would be rendered useless. Now that's all types of deep - this idea that language can teach us destruction and prejudice and by deconstructing that language those who have been oppressed can reclaim and enter into the very language that had formerly been exclusive - creating something new entirely.This sentiment reminds me a great deal of the book Rolling the R's which also complicates and obliterates ideas of language, grammar, and syntax.I love reading this while listening to Nina Simone - particularly Four Women.

  • Charlie Ramirez
    2019-05-21 00:28

    For Colored Girls who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf has been the most profound, interesting, mind- blowing books I have come across this year. This was my first time being introduced to a chore poem, which is simply a collection of poems that have been strategically put together into one novel. One thing I learned from Shange, the author, is the attention to the title of the book. Upon reading the first three words of the title, "For colored girls..." you assume that the word colored pertains to their skin color, more specifically, black women. However, upon reading through the poems, none of the characters are known by name. They are simple labeled 'the lady in blue' or 'the lady in red'. Each girl is labeled by a color. Each color serves as a symbolic meaning for each girl. For example, the poem that contains the lady in red is suffering from domestic violence, which red serves as a metaphor. Largely unique for the style of the book, For Colored Girls may be one of my new favorite books.

  • Beth
    2019-04-26 00:33

    This is one of those books I refer too a lot. Like written prayers sometimes say things in a way that resonates so well with me, so too does this book of poetry. Ever since I realized there waz someone callt/a colored girl an evil woman a bitch or a nag/i been tryin not to be that & leave bitterness/in somebody else's cup...

  • Adira
    2019-04-23 22:37

    This play was very interesting to read. In the beginning I was confused by Shange's abbreviations and had to use guess work to figure out what she was saying, but as the choreopoem went on, I got better at deciphering what she was saying. Thank goodness for this because the action in this choreopoem speeds by and if you're not focused, you'll miss something. Since this was a choreopoem, the actual character building isn't really meant to be full blown yet, I wanted to hear more from each woman's character. However, Shange's motives seem to be to have the characters is more so to have them represent something opposed to having them actually letting them form "whole" personalities.While I did like this choreopoem, I would have to say without actually seeing a visual interpretation of it (be it a theatrical production, the tv movie, or the film adaptation), one could get lost fairly easily. Since I read this choreopoem for an assignment and watched Tyler Perry's film adaptation in tandem with reading Shange's work, I have to say, I actually got a better feeling for what Shange was doing with her work. Without seeing the work in action, I would have just chalked this read up as an overblown classic, but the visual representation made this piece one of my favorite...movies. I know that's harsh, but I still feel as if this work would be better off packaged as simple poems in written form opposed to a unit. And yes, I am aware that Shange admits that she did write the poems in this form and later preformed then as a collective unit however, I must go off of how it was presented to me in book form.Out of all the poems though, my favorites had to be "somebody almost walked off with all my stuff," "dark phrases," and "no assistance." I literally spent a good hour watching reenactments of "somebody almost walked off with all my stuff." This choreopoem is something I would recommend that everybody read and watch at least once. It's definitely gives one food for thought. But, beware, viewer discretion is advised. Shange's work isn't for a younger audience, it's better suited for individuals who can truly grasp what is being talked about in the poems.

  • Maxwell
    2019-05-04 23:14

    I NEED to see this as a production. And I also need to reread it because WOW there are so many layers to it.

  • Liz Janet
    2019-05-01 19:20

    Read this before seeing the film, it is worth it. This play is one of the strongest stories about abuse and discrimination, from almost all aspects that I have had the great pleasure of reading.I have seen many people criticize how the characters were represented, some even claiming that the characters could have taken more “responsibility” for what happened to them, and I am very sure that these people missed one of the messages of the story, that people are flawed, and that sometimes it is hard to leave. For example, someone criticized one of the characters who was being abused by her partner/husband physically and emotionally, and she stayed with him. This person said that she should just have left, but to abuse victims it is often not that easy. There is also an instance of a mother’s abuse towards her daughter, and this person said that she could once more leave and make her own fortune. I am now convinced that this person has no knowledge of abuse, economics, or the cultural upbringing some people are raised with.It is a very trigger filled play, so one must look at it with caution. My favourite part was the depiction of rape, including that even people we know can do it, rape is no longer a stranger in a dark alley, but ti can be a neighbour, someone we consider a best friend.

  • Craig Cunningham
    2019-05-10 22:15

    I read this book a million years ago.Well, to bespecific back in 1975, around the time of its original publication. However, I have read it several more times since then, and I have seen the Play performed more than five times. The play presents an overwhelming expereience that embraces the audience member in a cultural experience of the African American woman and other women in the African Diaspora. The reading of the text and the viewing of the original play present a sometimes bleek, daunting, view of life, but the expressive hope that looms through much of the poetry offers a vibrant potential for change. I really enjoy the book, because of the specifics with which Ntozake Shange approaches words. She is a wordsmith. She carefully sculpts, massages, and molds the words to create this tapestry of emotion and brilliance. Now that this textual call for revolution will be made into a motion picture, I pray that the original revolutionary, nationalist, feminist, and cultural paradigms in this piece shall not be exploited or removed to fit into a 21st century framework for a simple story wrapped up in a bow. I love this piece, and I really believe in theatre, this piece started a genre of pieces in the sixties and seventies in which characters speaking directly to the audience extolled their feelings, emotional wreckages, and depths of intensity through the catacombs of cultural examination. Another play, which does not have the same depth as Ms. Shange's work, is the Runaways, which was a Broadway production as well. I really enjoy works this this, and Ntozake Shange does fantastic work in this area.

  • Obsidian
    2019-04-26 22:18

    I have to say that I loved this play. It was a bit weird to read the stage directions along with the poetry that was being said by these characters, but it was quite easy to read and follow.For colored girls is considered a choreopoem (i.e. there are monologues that also include dance and music) with seven women in different colors speaking to the audience.The seven women are the lady in red, lady in orange, lady in yellow, lady in green, lady in blue, lady in brown, and lady in purple.Some of the poems really spoke to me a lot and the play tackles so many different subjects such as rape, abortion, domestic violence. Some of the language was a bit harsh too. There were a lot of n words and some ethnic slurs in there too. I wouldn't recommend to those who may be easily offended and who may not want to read about some of the subjects of this play. lady in brown& this is for colored girls who have considered suicide/but are movin to the ends of their ownrainbows

  • Marlana-Patrice
    2019-05-10 02:24

    I have seen the play version twice including the touring company with some of the original cast members like the amazing Trazana Beverley. Yesterday, reading the actual choreopoem in its entirety for the first time gave me more insight and understanding of the poets' intentions. There are moments of joy as well as sheer despair in this piece. In other words, Shange covers a wide range of colored girl emotions. Her work is also ground-breaking because of its experimentation with form and content. For instance, she consistently shortened words, something that hip-hop culture does all of the time now. Considering that this work was first copyrighted back in the 1970's shows that she was probably one of the first to experiment with words and ideas in this manner. She boldly thrusts words of the street into her piece too which tells me that this well-educated woman was not afraid to tap into the lives of everyday people, especially their raw experiences. Some of my favorite poems are "Toussaint" and "Someone Almost Walked Off Wid Alla My Stuff." The former poignantly tells about first loves. While the latter is told in the voice of experienced hurt. I can totally relate to both of these arresting poems. Another way that this book is so accessible is that it draws you in and makes you have to read it in one day. It is quite short so that is easily accomplished. In sum, I know this work will remain a universal force. It has touched so many people, not just colored girls or feminists. Now that it has been transformed into a movie version, this seminal work will without a doubt touch a whole new generation of readers.

  • Zanna
    2019-04-22 20:41

    'coloured' (minoritised, othered in their skin, colonised OR vibrant, various, multifaceted) 'girls' (infantilised, sexually exploited and pathologised, excluded from woman/lady OR youthful, spirited, free, pure-hearted) , five Black women… speaking in the safe space of loving affirmation between them, poetising rawness of pain and beauty, passion and exhaustion...No respectability politics. Don't start telling these women what they should have done. These are words of possibility and impossibility. They did what was possible and cried for what was impossibleFeminists are saying NOW what Shange says here about rape culture… (how strongly can I echo the words of Black feminists/womanists and say we White women have to hear Black women and get behind them on this, because not only are they hurt by male violence but by the violence of a law-and-order feminism that signifies on the plantation narrative of Black men as a threat to White women)Colour is sweetness here with bitter linings... is worn with glitter... orange butterflies and aqua sequins… on bodies glowing with femme charms to take their pleasure from men who can't be loved, men who hurt their hearts and utter cheap apologies, men who even destroy their lives. The nourishing saving love they live on is for each other. Shange's ladies in red brown blue purple yellow step from the stage leaving space for the queer coloured girls to dance their songs...I'm hoping to go see a production of this soon!

  • TheSkepticalReader
    2019-04-20 22:37

    Themes - checkCharacters - checkWriting - pretentious as hellCertain words that Shange chooses to spell differently are spoken the same way regardless. I don’t see how one could say could (which she chose to spell as “cld”) any differently than anyone else, whether you are black, white, or green.

  • Kathy-Ann Fletcher
    2019-05-06 01:42

    I believe every word of this book. It is honest and real and gives a voice to a marginalised but strong set of women. It is definitely one of my favourite books ever. Absolutely a gem of literature.

  • Melody
    2019-05-03 18:16

    I have never seen the movie or the stage version of this, so for some reason I went into this expecting some talk about mental illness among black women (based upon the title) or black women overcoming adversity. There were some lines that I liked and some poems that I thought were particularly good, but when I read the last page I had one overwhelming thought, 'That was really overrated.' These poems read more like a bunch of little stories. And all the stories are about black women's misery, pain and heartbreak. I guess it was groundbreaking to tell a black woman's story in the 70s in this fashion. To be gritty and honest about our lives. I appreciate the delicacy she took with these stories. However! Am I supposed to be intrigued and impressed with a book featuring more of the usual fiction stories of how black women's lives are so awful? I liked the diversity in the women's life experiences, but the underlying theme was the same in all of them: it sucks to be us. Kind of depressing. I wish I liked this more.

  • Cassie
    2019-05-16 20:39

    This book is so much more powerful than the movie that is made from it. This book showcases beautifully the experience of African-American females. While I never can fully understand their experience as a gay white male I feel that I was drawn into their world by Shange's words. I was able to feel their joy, pain, and suffering. This book moved me to emotions that I didn't believe a book would be able to do and now I find myself sometimes saying one of the poems to myself in my head frequently about "he nearly left widda all my stuff". When a book can resonate and stay with you days after you have read it that is when you know that you have just read something either truly great or truly bad. This one is squarely in the truly great category that got me thinking about the differences and the similarities between all human beings regardless of their color.

  • Pamela
    2019-04-22 23:14

    "for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf" by Ntozake Shange is a powerful choreopoem that explores many different arenas: rape, sexually-transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy, abortion, murder, etc... It is written in a way that conveys to the reader the physical and emotional stance of the women in the play. While delving into many social topics that seem to plague all women(not just colored girls) today, Shange creates an atmosphere in which these women are made comfortable to address these issues when they would, otherwise, not want to draw the attention. Such as the poem that addresses unplanned pregnancy and abortion - "i cdnt have people lookin at me pregnant i cdnt have my friends see this dyin danglin tween my legs...nobody came cuz nobody knew once i was pregnant & shamed of myself." Personally, this choreopoem spoke volumes to the corners of my mind and my heart, that is, the poem and Tyler Perry's movie, "For Colored Girls" off of which this poem is based. Unlike "Precious" based on Sapphire's "Push," I did not read the book first. As a matter of fact, I'm happy that I had an opportunity to view the movie before reading. I believe it really helped a lot in that this is my first time reading a choreopoem. The characters in the movie really brought the stories and issues to life, and, as previously mentioned, these are topics that touch all women, not just colored girls.I give it 5 stars.

  • Mike Jensen
    2019-04-26 23:14

    Three stars for a modern classic? I struggle with this book. TV and film sometimes included scenes with performance pieces like this to show how talentless and clueless a character is. I have not seen this work performed, but from reading alone, the first couple of pieces read like this to me. It seems to improve after this, or do I just begin to “get it”?, still many of the poems, especially the emotional poems, do not resonate with me. I have trouble identifying with the anger or the reasons for the emotions. It is another matter with the narrative poems. They are so outside of my experience, so unrelentingly grim, that I am shocked and have trouble comprehending how people can get themselves into these situations, yet am sympathetic for the characters in them. The last of the narratives is especially scary and moving to me. So many of these poems are about people who seem trapped in way that I do not feel trapped, and that is another point of alienation.I give the piece full credit for being heart-felt, passionate, sometimes compellingly expressed (though sometimes not), and providing a glimpse into the kind of lives that produce an alienation and anger that I simply do not understand, but then that is the problem. I do not understand it. It is alien to my experience, so I cannot fully embrace the art here.

  • Alisha
    2019-05-14 23:29

    Very very beautifully written. Tragically realistic. Very amazing to read. It's an extremely artistic portrayal of the lives of black women, from and living all different strokes of life, searching the world for something to make them and their existence whole. Blindly, it is usually manifested in some form of a man.The imagery and use of language is astonishing. It's poetry, which I personally don't read very much, but For Colored Girls is my favorite poem(s) I've ever read. As with all screenplays (or scripts) that you read, you kind of wonder how it translates on stage. As I read this, it played out in my mind incredibly vivid. Especially compared to other plays I've read. It was never dull; it may as well had been a novel. As much as I enjoyed reading this, I can only imagine it's simply transfixing to watch in action. I'm talking about on a stage, not in a movie. (I'm slightly prejudiced against film adaptations of books.) Still, I'll probably watch Perry's movie, just because I really want to see this played out. But most of all, I'd love to see this on stage!

  • La TonyaJordan
    2019-05-03 20:42

    Words that do not truly come to life until you see the theatrical stage version. Life is painfully and joyfully at the same time.Quote:little sally walker, sittin in a saucerrise, sally, rise, wipe your weepin eyes an put your hands on your hipsan let your backbone slip o, shake it to the easto, shake it to the westshake it to the onethat you like the bestlady in purple you're it

  • Maya Day
    2019-05-16 20:36

    this is the most important piece of writing ive ever read in my life

  • nicebutnubbly
    2019-04-24 18:29

    somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuffnot my poems or a dance i gave up in the streetbut somebody almost walked off wid alla my stufflike a kleptomaniac workin hard & forgettin while stealinthis is mine/this aint yr stuff/now why don't you put me back & let me hang out in my own selfsomebody almost walked off wit alla my stuff& didn't care enuf to send a note home sayini was late for my solo conversationor two sizes to small for my own tacky skirtswhat can anybody do wit somethin of no value ona open market/ did you getta dime for my things/hey man/ where are you goin wid alla my stuff/to ohh & ahh abt/ daddy/ i gotta mainline numberfrom my own shit/ now wontcha put me back/ & letme play this duet/ wit silver ring in my nose/honest to god/ somebody almost run off wit alla my stuff/& i didnt bring anythin but the kick & sway of itthe perfect ass for my man & none of it is theirsthis is mine/ ntozake 'her own things'/ that's my namenow give me my stuff/ i see ya hidin my laugh/ & how isit wif my legs open sometimes/ to give my crotchsome sunlight/ & there goes my love my toes my chewed up finger nails/ niggah/ wif the curls in yr hair/mr. louisiana hot link/ i want my stuff back/my rhytums & my voice/ open my mouth/ & let me talk yaoutta/ throwin my shit in the sewar/ this is some delicate leg & whimsical kiss/ i gotta have to give to my choice/without you runnin off wit alla my shit/now you cant have me less i give me away/ & i wazdoin all that/ til ya run off on a good thing/who is this you left me wit/ some simple bitchwidda bad attitude/ i wants my things/i want my arm wit the hot iron scar/ & my leg wit theflea bite/ i want my calloused feet & quik language backin my mouth/ fried plantains/ pineapple pear juice/ sun-ra & joseph & jules/ i want my own things/ how i lived them/& give me my memories/ how i waz when i waz there/you cant have them or do nothin wit them/stealin my shit from me/ dont make it yrs/ makes it stolen/somebody almost run off wit alla my stuff/ & i waz standinthere/ lookin at myself/ the whole time& it waznt a spirit took my stuff/ waz a man whoseego walked round like Rodan's shadow/ waz a man fastern my innocence/ waz a lover/ i made too muchroom for/ almost run off wit alla my stuff/& i didnt know i'd give it up so quik/ & the one runnin wit it/don't know he got it/ & i'm shoutin this is mine/ & he dontknow he got it/ my stuff is the anonymous rip[ped off treasureof the year/ did you know somebody almost got away wit me/me in a plastic bag under their arm/ medanglin on a string of personal carelessness/ i'm spattered witmud & city rain/ & no i didnt get a chance to take a douche/hey man/ this is not your perogative/ i gotta have me in mypocket/ to get round like a good woman shd/ & make the poemin the pot or the chicken in the dance/ what i got to do/i gotta get my stuff to do it to/why dont ya find yr own things/ & leave this packageof me for my destiny/ what ya got to get from me/i'll give it to ya/ yeh/ i'll give it to ya/round 5:00 in the winter/ when the sky is blue-red/& Dew City is gettin pressed/ if it's really my stuff/ya gotta give it to me/ if ya really want it/ i'm the only one/ can handle it

  • Janet
    2019-05-05 21:41

    I must say I read this play--or is it poetry--or is it dance--every year or two. My favorite Shange.*********************11/6/10 I'm getting ready to see the film today, so must re-read. it will be so strange to see these characters named--in the poems they're "lady in red," "lady in white" and so on... so that you develop a feel for them by their voices alone. Must remember that a film is its own work of art and not expect something it probably won't do--replicate that dream feel of the choreopoem. ********************Loved re-reading this and glad I did before the film--my friend and I were sobbing before the opening credits even rolled--just to hear this language again! I'm not sure, and have no way to know, whether I would have loved the film so much if I hadn't been so familiar with the piece. Would I have been confused by its intense lyricism? No way to know. I thought they integrated the dream-time and word-drunkenness and tough emotionality of the play into the realism of a film just beautifully.

  • kenneth
    2019-05-01 02:33

    This book is spiritually bland and utterly devoid of imagination. The writing was puerile and in no way measures up to the high quality of literature you would expect from a book held in such high and critical esteem. (It won an Obie). Some may choose to ignore the faults in the text because it is "revolutionary" and feminist. But for those people I have a question. If we measure progressive works and feminist works by cheaper standards,how does that show what we truly think about women? Probably the very same thing we think when we ignore the fact that women are paid cents on the dollar for rendering the same service(and often better and more efficiently) as a man would. This book is bad in a universal context. I think hell is a library in which this is the only book..

  • Shanae
    2019-04-23 19:32

    My goodness, this book really spoke to me. I'm so thankful that I read it. I would absolutely love to see this performed live. I picked up this book because I heard that Tyler Perry would be directing the film version, while I'm not Perry fan I thought I'd better at least read this book and see what the hype is all about. I can assure you that every single woman in the world could benefit from reading these poems...I haven't experienced any of what was discussed in the poems, but I know that if I live long enough I will - so I took the chance to inform myself. I marked pages, I laughed, I shook my head - it was like having a conversation with my girlfriends. I recommend this book to all lovers of literature, lovers of life, and lovers of love alike.

  • Emily
    2019-04-29 19:21

    I may be mostly white, but I am also entirely a woman. "i loved you on purposei was open on purposei still crave vulnerability & close talk& i'm not even sorry bout you bein sorryyou can carry all the guilt & grime ya wanna just dont give it to mei cant use another sorrynext timeyou should admityou're mean/ low-down/ triflin/ & no count straight outsteada bein sorry alla the timeenjoy bein yrself"I don't believe I have ever met a single woman who could hear or read those words and not begin nodding with the harsh realization that we've all been there. The female ability to be scorned and scorned some more and still dust ourselves off and keep on craving truer and purer love is not dictated by out race but by our wonderful femininity.

  • Lauren
    2019-04-26 23:20

    I really hope I have the chance to see this performed one day. Shange's writing is so lyrical and emotionally honest on its own that I can only imagine the impact of the full dance, the stage, the color, etc. The writing style was compelling enough for me to give the play 5 stars, though. The actual reworking of the English language so as to communicate in words created for and by women of color -- as opposed to speaking in the language born out of a racist and sexist culture -- very much enhanced the meaning of the play for me. I was equally compelled by the power of each woman's story -- each poem was both moving and beautifully written. I'll definitely be recommending this to a lot of people.

  • Rena Jane
    2019-05-05 21:16

    I've been meaning to read some of Ntozake Shange's work for sometime, and when I saw this offered in my Book-Of-The-Month catalog, ordered and read it.The book is written in the style of a stage play, and has been performed several times, according to the book, including being filmed for HBO.Shange addresses many of the cruel and challenging issues that many young women, not just black women, but Asian, white, poor, and under-educated women confront, on a daily basis.One of the themes that came through strongly to me, is the importance of sisterhood. Women need to unite to support one another against social, political, and emotional challenges.God bless her for her raw honesty and courage.

  • Tisha London
    2019-04-23 00:28

    The best poetry I have ever read. This poem hits every issue we as black women are faced with. I thought I suffered alone with most of these issues until I read these poems. Some poems I actually was reading my life story. This book is therapy, She takes the hurt, pain, joy right from your tongue and let's you read it, in the form of poetry. This poem makes me want to unite with all women and deal with our issues together. It's comforting to know I wasn't alone. I've also watched both movies, the first one from the 1970's and Tyler Perry's! Both equally great. This is a work of art you have to Thank God for! 5/5

  • zingha.
    2019-05-12 19:33

    ...She's half-notes scattered without rhythm/ no tune sing her sighs sing the song of her possiblilties sing a righteous gospel let her be born let her be born & handled warmly.I read this every year at or around springtime since I was introduced to it while broseing in my local bookstore over ten years ago. It is both loud and quiet in it's prose. Everytime I read it I idenify with a diffrent lady than the year before. It speaks to the works' timelessness.hard and soft...always tender. Beautiful.