Blue Hour: Poems

By Carolyn Forche{acute} (HarperCollins, $24.95)

This is the Maryland poet's first collection since 1994, though she has edited a number of critically acclaimed anthologies in the interim. Its centerpiece is the long poem "On Earth," modeled on ancient gnostic hymns, relating the memories and fleeting thoughts of a person right before death. The accompanying shorter poems have similar themes and also address the act of remembering. (F)

Capital

By Lynn Curlee (Atheneum, $17.95)

Curlee's background in art history and painting serves him well in this picture book on the history of Washington, D.C. He guides us through the conception and construction of five of its grandest structures: the Capitol, White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial. The analysis and description of each are brought to life with vivid acrylic paintings. (Children 3-5)

Freedom in the Family

By Tananarive Due and Patricia Stephens Due (One World, $24.95)

In alternating chapters, a mother and daughter recount the sacrifices that they, and many other citizens, made in advancing the civil rights movement. Stephens became an activist while attending college in Florida in the '60s. Her daughter Tananrive reflects on how her mother's values influenced her own life and struggles for social justice. (NF)

The bestseller lists this week are culled from information submitted by Barnes & Noble, Borders and Olsson's based on sales from 03/03-03/09. The "Washington Is Also Reading" list is based on reports from Chapters Literary Bookstore, Reprint and Vertigo. The Book World bestsellers hotline is 202-334-9000, category code 4175. (03/23/03)