A while back in my Skinny Widget, I posted video of Nikky Finney—born Lynn Carol Finney—accepting the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry, her speech —a poem itself—is already legendary for its power and originality. (Scroll down to see it). Many of you missed that Skinny so I’m back to bring more attention to her book and amazing body of work.

“My responsibility as a poet, as an artist is to not look away.”  ~ Nikky Finney

She is more skilled with language than her fishmonger could ever be with his whale knife, cutting and shaping images and emotions, leaving you shaking your head tryin’ to figure out what kinda hurricane called Nikky just hit you. I ate many a mullet fish from the Flint River growing up on Hazard Drive.

Buy the book.

“The girl is sent for dinner fish. Inside the market she fills her aluminum bowl with ice blue mackerel and mullet, according to her mother’s instruction. The fishmonger standing there, blood on his apron, whale knife in hand, asks, Head off and split? Translation: Do away with the watery gray eyes, the impolite razor-sharp fins, the succulent heart, tender roe, delicate sweet bones? Polite, dutiful, training to be mother, bride, kitchen frau. Her answer, Yes.” ~ from book Head Off and Split

Listen to her read poem, Left on page 13 of book: