Afaa Michael Weaver is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Timber and Prayer: The Indian Pond Poems; My Father’s Geography; The Plum Flower Dance: Poems 1985 to 2005; The Government of Nature, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award ; and City of Eternal Spring, winner of the Phyllis Wheatley Book Award. He is alumnae professor of English at Simmons College in Boston. Weaver is the recipient of an NEA fellowship, a Pew fellowship, four Pushcart Prizes, and a Fulbright scholar appointment, among other honors. In 1998, he became the first Elder of the Cave Canem Foundation.
In Spirit Boxing, Weaver revisits his working class core. The veteran of fifteen years as a factory worker in his native Baltimore, he mines his own experience to build a wellspring of craft in poems that extend from his life to the lives that inhabit the whole landscape of the American working class. He writes with an intimacy that is unique in American poetry, and echoes previous comparisons of his oeuvre to that of Walt Whitman. The singularity of his voice resonates here through the prism of his realization of self through a lifelong project of the integration of American and Chinese culture. The work is Daoist in influence and structure as it echoes both a harmonic realization of context and the intuitive and transcendent dance of body, mind, and spirit.
Winner of the 2015 Phillis Wheatley Book Award (poetry category)
This is the final book in the Plum Flower Trilogy by Afaa Michael Weaver, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. The two earlier books, The Plum Flower Dance: Poems 1985 to 2005 and The Government of Nature, reveal similar themes that address the author’s personal experience with childhood abuse through the context of Daoist renderings of nature as a metaphor for the human body, with an eye to recovery and forgiveness in a very eclectic spiritual life. City of Eternal Spring chronicles Weaver’s travels abroad in Taiwan and China, as well as showing the limits of cultural influence.
This is the second volume of a trilogy (the first was The Plum Flower Dance) in which Weaver analyzes his life, striving to become the ideal poet. In The Government of Nature, Afaa Michael Weaver explores the trauma of his childhood—including sexual abuse—using a “cartography and thematic structure drawn from Chinese spiritualism.” Weaver is a practitioner of Daoism, and this collection deals directly with the abuse in the context of Daoist renderings of nature as metaphor for the human body.
Winner of the 2008 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence
“Weaver has crafted a virtual planet in this book with plenty of alternate geographies for readers of all flavors and stripes. Marvelous. Huge. Prodigious.”
—North American Review
“Weaver's life studies and lyrics are imbued with a vivid sense of language, a vivid sense of the world, a vivid sense of their inseparability. And his tonal range—from unabashed passion to the subtlest velleity—is impressive indeed. This is a singular talent.”—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.