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American Dreams

1996 American Dreams_Sapphire_Goodreads.jpg

In the tradition of Alice Walker, this electrifying  African American voice delivers the verdict on the urban condition in a sensual, propulsive, and prophetic book of poetry and prose.


Whether she is writing about an enraged teenager gone "wilding" in Central Park, fifteen-year-old Latasha Harlins gunned down by a Korean grocer, or a brutalized child who grows up to escape her probable fate through the miracle of art, Sapphire’s vision in this collection of poetry and prose is unswervingly honest.

Paperback | $14.00
Published by Penguin Books

June 18, 1996

ISBN 9780679767992


“Stunning . . . .

One of the strongest debut

collections of the ’90s.”

Publishers Weekly

“Gritty, honest, angry, tender, funny, raw, immediate, and artful….Sapphire knows more than the rap stars, more than the sociologists, about the inner city. She knows how people talk: Abused children, prostitutes, tired domestic workers, white bigots, lesbians in love. She does their voices in a way that breaks your heart.”

Entertainment Weekly

“An electrifying new voice in African American literature makes her debut in this hypnotic, raw, and redemptive book of poetry and prose. The territory that Sapphire stakes out in American Dreams is the territory of news headlines and police blotters, where violence within families intersects with violence between the races and where today’s victim may be tomorrow’s perpetrator…"

Entertainment Weekly

“This angry yet hopeful collection speaks not of dreams deferred

but of nightmares lived….Sapphire’s poetry takes the stuff America’s

illusory dreams are made of and

turns it inside out."

The New York Times Book Review

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