Cover image for Soldier : a poet's childhood
Soldier : a poet's childhood
Jordan, June, 1936-2002.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Civitas Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
xx, 261 pages ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
930 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3560.O73 Z47 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS3560.O73 Z47 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A profoundly moving childhood memoir by a noted poet, essayist, teacher, and journalist.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Known for her fiery protest poems and her sensitive portrayals of children, poet and novelist Jordan (Naming Our Destiny) offers a fast-moving memoir of her early years. "Born on the hottest day in Harlem" to West Indian immigrants, Jordan was largely shaped by her ambitious and hardworking but sometimes abusive father: she would be his "sturdy, brilliant soldier, or he would, well, beat me to death." When Jordan turned five, in 1941, the family moved to Brooklyn; shortly thereafter she became a pugnacious, sociable child, shuttling among fantasies, friends and teachers, and the unstable expectations of her home life. Remarkable passages cover Jordan's youthful obsession with cowboy heroes, "deep-sea fishing" with her protective father and early experiences with religion. Jordan (a professor of African-American Studies at UC-Berkeley) has selected a bitty, broken-up format: single paragraphs, sentences, anecdotes and prose sketches succeed one another as if in a photo album or a book of short poems. (Sometimes Jordan even breaks into verse.) This can make her work scattered or sketchy; it can also imbue single incidents or memories with remarkable resonance. At her best, Jordan writes as if for oral delivery: Jodi, her best friend at summer camp, "had tiger eyes and a lion's mane for hair and she chewed gum so that it cracked near her chipped front tooth and her skin turned the same color as my own skin from the sun." Jordan could easily have written a tear-jerking story of trauma and recovery, or a densely sociological document. Instead, she weaves early disasters, delights and difficulties into a thoughtful, often cheerful tale about the girl she wasÄone who found herself (as a chapter title has it) constantly "choosing and being chosen, fighting and fighting back." Agent, Gloria Loomis. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved