CRITICS OF MYSTERY MARVEL is Youssef Alaoui's debut full-length poetry collection, which explores human relationships between individuals, cultures, races, and genders. He deftly utilizes archaic tones to formulate an artistic approach to metaphor in verse, creating images that appear wholly in the mind and not on the page. This volume consists of ten sections that explores Alaoui's family and heritage, an endless source of inspiration for his varied, dark, spiritual and carnal writings. Blending surrealism, magical realism, and language alchemy, Alaoui explores the human mythos of love, poverty, politics, racism, and war. A few of the poems are written in French and Spanish, translated to English. Post-beat verse from the San Francisco Bay area and the Big-Sur, CRITICS OF MYSTERY MARVEL touches the depth of the soul with poetry that is metaphorically luminous.
Mother of Orphans is the compelling true story of Alice, an Irish-American woman who defied rigid social structures to form a family with a black man in Ohio in 1899. Alice and her husband had three children together, but after his death in 1912, Alice mysteriously surrendered her children to an orphanage. One hundred years later, her great-grand daughter, Dedria Humphries Barker, went in search of the reasons behind this mysterious abandonment, hoping in the process to resolve aspects of her own conflicts with American racial segregation and conflict.
This book is the fruit of Barker’s quest. In it, she turns to memoir, biography, historical research, and photographs to unearth the fascinating history of a multiracial community in the Ohio River Valley during the early twentieth century. Barker tells this story from multiple vantage points, frequently switching among points of view to construct a fragmented and comprehensive perspective of the past intercut with glimpses of the present. The result is a haunting, introspective meditation on race and family ties. Part personal journey, part cultural biography, Mother of Orphans examines a little-known piece of this country’s past: interracial families that survived and prevailed despite Jim Crow laws, including those prohibiting mixed-race marriage. In lyrical, evocative prose, this extraordinary book ultimately leaves us hopeful about the world as our children might see it.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? BREAKING THE WHITE CODE OF SILENCE, A COLLECTION OF PERSONAL NARRATIVES, asks just that. The first of its kind, this collection of 82 personal narratives reflects a vibrant range of stories from white Americans who speak frankly and openly about race, not only as it applies to people of color, but as it applies to themselves. The stories cover a wide gamut of American history from contributors around the United States; from reminiscing about segregation and Jim Crow, to today's headlines of police brutality, politics and #BlackLivesMatter. The variety in style and subject matter from people of different class and employment backgrounds have one point in common–they create an absorbing and thought-provoking collection that explores race from a very personal perspective. In the telling, not only do contributors discuss their discomfort in talking about race, they also share big and small moments in their lives that have shaped what it means to be white in America, and how it affects the way they see themselves and others. In answering the question, some may offer viewpoints one may not necessarily agree with, but nevertheless, it is clear that each contributor is committed to answering it as honestly as possible. An invaluable starting point that includes a glossary and a bibliography of suggested reading, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? is highly recommended for students, teachers and anyone else interested in seeking a deeper and richer understanding of race in America.
The past four hundred years have seen unprecedented growth in virtually every conceivable realm of life, from medicine to the arts, technology to finance. Far too often, however, when we think of the movers, shakers, and innovators behind these transformations, we picture a host of men—and white men, at that.
With Trailblazers, Gabrielle David remedies that. The first anthology of black female innovators published in more than fifteen years, Trailblazers introduces us to more than one hundred and fifty American black women who have been instrumental in creating our contemporary life. We learn about activists and politicians like Fannie Lou Hamer, who in 1964 changed the Democratic National Convention forever by protesting efforts to disenfranchise black votes in her native Mississippi, and Lelia Foley, a black woman who overcame racism and poverty to become the first female African American mayor in the United States in 1973. David also introduces us to entertainers, athletes, and businesswomen—though not always in predictable ways. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter makes an appearance, for example, not for her musical career, but as a businesswoman, reminding us of her multifaceted triumphs.
David brings this volume together with a clarion call for recognition of the transformative work black women have done and continue to do. She reminds us of the debt we owe to these unsung heroes—and the place black women deserve at the table.
What is a "Nuyorican"? And what does it mean? Poet, writer and activist Samuel Diaz Carrion explores this question and more in OUR NUYORICAN THING, THE BIRTH OF A SELF-MADE IDENTITY. What started out as blog correspondence for the Nuyorican Poets Cafe's website (2001-2004), quickly turned into a cultural exchange about the Cafe and Puerto Rican culture. OUR NUYORICAN THING is a compendium of those blog entries and emails that also includes Diaz Carrion's poetry seen through the eyes of a "Puerto Rican Indiana Jones" who has quietly studied "the trade route of a new language . . . collecting poetry and stories as the artifacts of the day." This collection is riveting, informative and delightful, and will satisfy any reader with an appetite for cross-cultural discussions.
THE REVLON SLOUGH, Ray DiZazzo's fourth poetry collection represents fifty years of writing that explores life's observations in harmony with both the natural world, and the often anomalous societies we inhabit. This volume is organized into seven sections that explore creatures both exotic and mundane, the fragility of damaged individuals, social and political perspectives, personal observations, science fiction and space, and perhaps most important, what it means to be a human being in this contested, often volatile world. As the collection's title elucidates, DiZazzo has created a narrative initially inspired by his discovery of a farmland slough, with its own biosystem, and natural dichotomy of beauty and ugliness. His poetry, primarily written in free verse (with an occasional haiku) projects an intimacy with nature that resists sentimentality and romanticism, giving the poetry a vivid, unadorned feel throughout the volume. THE REVLON SLOUGH is DiZazzo's most intimate and eloquent poetry collection to date.
Naomi Raquel Enright's Strength of Soul proposes tangible strategies and ideas on how to challenge systemic racism through naming and resisting the ideology of racial difference and of the white supremacy at its root. Enright explores racism and the language that upholds this ideology through personal narratives that include an examination of her family’s experience. Throughout this volume, Enright shares reflections of her identity growing up as a bilingual, multiethnic individual, and as the mother of a son presumed to be white. She also advances ideas about how to confront societal notions of an inherent difference between the lived experiences of white people and everyone else, notions which result in the widely-held belief that there is an inevitable “us” and “them.” Enright suggests that embracing one’s total identity can allow people to challenge systemic racism as well as the language and ideology that created it and upholds it. In these poignant and deeply personal stories, Enright allows readers to reconsider a society on a genuine path towards justice, healing and true transformation. Strength of Soul is for anyone who is willing to rethink the status quo and is interested in creating systemic change vis-à-vis institutionalized and internalized racism.
In THE MORNING SIDE OF THE HILL, Ezra E. Fitz' debut novella, he asks readers: What if you anted up and kicked in everything you had on a belief, a hope, a dream, on faith, and you lost? This is one of the questions facing Willie and Mo, the two insecure, incomplete protagonists that was inspired by--and is an homage to--William Faulkner's classic novel, THE WILD PALMS. Like Faulkner's novel, it unfolds in two parallel stories told in alternating chapters that subtly illuminate one another. Set in Harlem and Crown Heights in Brooklyn, the twin tales gather like a storm to an exhilarating ferocity, culminating in a violent flood of passions that none of the characters can control, and which threatens to drown them all. Faulkner fans may think they know what the end holds for these characters, but rest assured, the finale of THE MORNING SIDE OF THE HILL exposes an unexpected coincidence that Faulkner may have hinted at but never fully explored.
PROVIDENCIA, Sean Frederick Forbes' debut poetry collection, offers deeply personal poetry that digs beneath the surface of family history and myth. This coming of age narrative traces the experience of a gay, mixed-race narrator who confronts the traditions of his parents' and grandparents' birthplace: the seemingly idyllic island of Providencia, Colombia against the backdrop of his rough and lonely life in Southside Jamaica, Queens. These lyric poems open doors onto a third space for the speaker, one that does not isolate or hinder his sexual, racial, and artistic identities. Written in both free verse and traditional poetic forms, PROVIDENCIA conjures numerous voices, images, and characters to explore the struggles of self-discovery.
THE FOURTH MOMENT, JOURNEYS FROM THE KNOWN TO THE UNKNOWN is a memoir by Carole J. Garrison. A child of humble beginnings, Garrison paved the way for herself to accomplish great things, but for her, the journey was far from your typical "rags to riches" tale. Through a series of tragedies and triumphs, blunders and epiphanies, Garrison's life has been filled with a number of unusual detours from being a suburban housewife in Miami, to becoming a single mom and police officer in Atlanta, to returning to school to become a seasoned ethics and women studies professor in Ohio and Kentucky, to working in Cambodia as it emerged from decades of civil strife, all the while growing into the passionate humanitarian she is today. THE FOURTH MOMENT is a remarkable series of recollections from a woman whose experiences cover an extraordinary range of places, people, and interests. Eschewing the formulaic conventions of autobiography, THE FOURTH MOMENT consists of short stories—vignettes—that move back and forth across time and space to describe in vivid detail events and observations from a fascinating life. The stories reflect the acute perceptions of a woman for whom every day is a new adventure and a fresh opportunity to learn. In THE FOURTH MOMENT, Garrison reveals truths not always within everyday reach, but certainly within everyday aspirations, something that readers will be able to connect to.
BIRDS ON THE KISWAR TREE by Peruvian Andean poet Odi Gonzales presents poems that sing in the voices of native birds and speak through the devout, but subversive, Quechua artists of Peru's colonial era. Their religious art provides the imagery for these astounding poems. In the Eden painted by one anonymous artist, Andean kiswar trees grow, native nukchu flowers bloom, llamas graze, and parrots perch in the trees, and in out-of-the-way nooks of Andean churches, rebel angels hide, armed with harquebuses. Canvas by canvas, poem by poem, Gonzales gives us a poetry collection as a living and talking museum in which the Quechua artists of Peru's past demonstrate both their sincere Christian faith and their opposition to the Spanish destruction of the Inca empire. Originally published in Peru in 2005 as LA ESCUELA DE CUSCO (THE SCHOOL OF CUSCO), BIRDS ON THE KISWAR TREE stands as an elegant and richly imagined tribute to these indigenous and mestizo artists. By extension, it shows how artists may put forth their views when prevailing circumstances make outward protest a perilous option.
WHEREABOUTS: STEPPING OUT OF PLACE is an anthology of the best nonfiction stories from OUTSIDE IN LITERARY & TRAVEL MAGAZINE, an online journal founded in 2011. Editor Brandi Dawn Henderson presents 38 emerging and established global storytellers who share stories discussing what it means to enter a new place; the kinds of worlds that exist to others that we, ourselves, do not experience; and how place and/or circumstance can affect who and how we are. Whether it is the story of a dog musher's girlfriend, a heavy-metal-loving Marine, an Inner Mongolian lover, or a Mormon missionary living in a dangerous land, this anthology explores the question: Why does anyone take the first step to anywhere he or she doesn't belong?
A COUNTRY WITHOUT BORDERS, POEMS AND STORIES OF KASHMIR is the debut collection of Lalita Pandit Hogan, an expatriate Kashmiri scholar and poet who shares with readers the loss of identity and home, culture, migration, womanhood, otherness and exile. Blooming with intense lyricism and fertile imagery, these full-blooded poems are elegant, mythic, and intricately woven, evoking a home no longer accessible. A COUNTRY WITHOUT BORDERS is an invaluable collection for all who are interested in cultural remembrance and meditations that reflect postcolonial poetry, and for students reading South Asian literature and culture.
THE DEATH OF THE GODDESS is an epic, narrative poem that is a moving account of affection, personal loss, and grief. Inspired by Buddhism, Indic thought and Hogan's reading of the BHAGAVAD GITA, the central figures of THE DEATH OF THE GODDESS is two lovers who refuse to accept unjust social hierarchies and suffer separation and death for that choice. In this groundbreaking narrative, Patrick Colm Hogan sets out to re-synthesize ancient Indian philosophy and myth, with a beauty and literary feeling (called rasa in Sanskrit) that are the central aspects of this poem. THE DEATH OF THE GODDESS is an excellent literary achievement to be read by serious poetry lovers and students of mythology or epic literature alike.
Born to an African American father and Japanese mother, Frederick D. Kakinami Cloyd, the narrator of Dream of the Water Children, finds himself not only to be a marginalized person by virtue of his heritage, but often a cultural drifter, as well. Indeed, both his family and his society treat him as if he doesn’t entirely belong to any world. Tautly written in spare, clear poetic prose, this memoir explores the specific contours of Japanese and African American cultures, as well as the broader experience of biracial and multicultural identity. To tell his story, Cloyd incorporates photographs and Japanese writing, history, and memory to convey both rich personal experience and significant historical detail. Bringing together vivid memories with a perceptive cultural eye, Dream of the Water Children brings readers closer to a biracial experience, opening up our understanding of the cultural richness and social challenges people from diverse backgrounds face.
Wounds Fragments Derelict is Carlos Gabriel Kelly’s debut poetry collection. These poems comprise a narrative of love and loss. Throughout the collection, Kelly weaves poetic fragments into a narrative expressing the torment of a relationship that clings to the heart even with the passage of time. As the speaker conjures his world seen through the prism of lost love, ghosts populate a landscape in which heartbreak prevents any possibility of moving forward. In these fragments, romantic, bold, and erotic verse speaks to the heart, its repetitions rattling the bones with carefully composed meter. Kelly also inventively takes advantage of the full page to create non-traditional forms for his poems. With honesty, poignancy, and romantic flair, he distills the most exhilarating highs and heartbreaking lows of life and love into evocative lines that will become etched in the reader’s mind.
The wealth and breadth of literature produced by African Americans is staggering and dates to the earliest days of black presence in the United States. A. Robert Lee’s Designs of Blackness takes on the critical and expansive task of mapping the traditions that influenced African American writing composed between 1746 and the present, in the process addressing the work of more than one hundred and fifty authors. Lee discusses writers like Phyllis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, and Toni Morrison who have published books of poetry, history, and fiction, but he also considers works from oral and vernacular genres, including the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the blues songs of Bessie Smith. Through this broad lens, Lee comments on significant moments in African American history and thought, as well as the threads that link these figures.
Newly updated in this twentieth-anniversary edition, Designs of Blackness is a monument to the incredible creative force of literature by African Americans, and an invaluable tool to anyone interested in American culture and history.
IMAGINARIUM: SIGHTINGS, GALLERIES, SIGHTLINES, A. Robert Lee's latest collection of poetry, turns on two connecting keynotes: imagination and sight. Across a broad canvas each of its sequences explores the ways we go about imagining as much as seeing reality. Sightings, which opens the book, turns upon a dozen or so celebrated paintings, among them J.M.W. Turner and Frida Kahlo. Galleries extends the usual meaning of the term to include vantage-points like a French archeological cave, a Bosphorus Straits crossing and a Tokyo station. Sightlines frames a run of personal encounters within the heights and widths of buildings and landscapes -- whether different Metro stations, or a major Japanese waterfall or Memphis's Beale Street. IMAGINARIUM explores yet other kinds of seeing, including poems that use bird flight as metaphors of imagination, airplane travel and its larger meanings of self-journey, science fiction film and the envisioning of other worlds, a roster of US photography, and imagination itself as a process to be imagined. In sum the reader is invited into a two-way exchange, imagination as seeing, seeing as imagination.
OFF COURSE: ROUNDABOUTS & DEVIATIONS is A. Robert Lee's latest collection that interleaves poetry and prose. Beneath the carefully crafted and accessible surface of Lee's work lies a profound, complex voice that deliberately disrupts traditional literary boundaries and distinctions. Different takes on the odd, oftentimes the antic, at work in the daily round. Seamed in wit, dark but congenial humor, Lee's work is aimed to amuse yet at the same time, stir recognitions. Fake correspondence might just be real. Foodways edge towards the gothic. Each composition comes over as slant, diagonal, oblique. Set phrases turn askew. Geographies un-map themselves, whether ostensibly Europe, England Japan, or America. Of course, it's all OFF COURSE. Enchanting tales of travel and transformation, comedy and capitalism, and unforgettable stories that teach us about our present as well as our past, OFF COURSE uses irony to tickle the mind. It reminds us that contradictions in life are inescapable, and how precarious and unpredictable life really is. Acerbic, volatile and incisive. Life episodes take on the patina of waking slumber, not to say japery and the absurd. Read OFF COURSE without discretion and take out some personal insurance before reading.
WRITTEN EYE: VISUALS/VERSE by A. Robert Lee offers poems whose starting point or source of inspiration is a work of visual art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the "action” of a painting or sculpture, Lee seeks both to engage and amplify their meaning. Accessible and insightful, these delightful poems express the poet's playful attention to a wide international range of paintings, photography, films, sculptures and architecture, and the impact literary and visual arts can have on society. For those interested in the re-thinking of ekphrastic poetry's motives and purposes, and the interplay between poetry and visual art, WRITTEN EYE: VISUALS/VERSE is essential reading.
BRASSBONES & RAINBOWS is the debut poetry collection of Shirley Bradley LeFlore, an oral poet and?performance artist from St. Louis, Missouri who has been on the scene for over five decades. While LeFlore tackles social, political and cultural issues with a profound love for humanity, she also provides insight into self-identity, inner-strength, beauty and faith. A literary griot, LeFlore shares the fabric of verse through jazz, blues and gospel music. Blending realism with lyricism that is interspersed with humor, these short and accessible verses flow in an easy going, smooth and soothing Southern American dialect mixed with African American Vernacular English -- its intensity changing from poem to poem -- with words serving as musical notes. BRASSBONES & RAINBOWS is a stunning testament to Shirley Bradley LeFlore, a story singer whose words will certainly roll off your tongue.
RIVERS OF WOMEN, THE PLAY by poet and oral performer Shirley Bradley LeFlore is a stage-play of poems accompanied with photographs by award-winning, Chicago-based photographer Michael J. Bracey. Bracey matches his images with LeFlore's poetry, adding a visual dimension that succeeds in endowing every poem with an added sense of depth and emotionality through his unique mode of multilayered conceptualization. RIVERS OF WOMEN is LeFlore's most prolific work of poetry rooted in the stories and voices of womanhood. Readers will hear the music and see the dance as they flip through the pages.
BROKE BAROQUE is the third in a series of Broke Books by the poet, Tony Medina. The poetry is centered on Medina's iconic "Everyman's” character "Broke,” a character that bears witness to his plight of homelessness in a humorous yet profound way. The poetry is peppered with subtle images that talks about Broke's existence and life experiences on the streets of "Any City” through tall tales, anecdotes, episodes, rants and jokes that eloquently convey his marginalization in an unaccommodating society. With razor-sharp scatological whimsy, Medina's iconic ironic existential every man — Broke — bears witness to the plight of homelessness from his curbside porch, torching the capitalist system and its myriad societal contradictions. Using his trademark sardonic wit, Medina portrays Broke's anger, fear, humility and resolve with humor, but at the same time manages to bring moments of levity and hopefulness to Broke's plight. BROKE BAROQUE also gets people to acknowledge the growing number of homeless men, women and children that are multiplying in communities around the country and encourage action. Funny and perversely sharp, whimsical and impassioned, BROKE BAROQUE is compulsively readable and will connect with any book and poetry lover alike.
HEY YO! YO SOY! 40 YEARS OF NUYORICAN STREET POETRY, A BILINGUAL EDITION is a 386-page collection, comprised of three previously published books, CASTING LONG SHADOWS (1970), HAVE YOU SEEN LIBERATION (1971), and STREET POETRY & OTHER POEMS (1972), that consist of stories about growing up Puerto Rican in New York City's El Barrio. Melendez has long been considered one of the founders of the Nuyorican Movement and the political, intellectual and linguistic topics he approaches in his work remain extremely relevant to this day.
PAPOLiTICO, POEMS OF A POLITICAL PERSUASION is award-winning poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez' sixth book of poetry. Witty, wise, personal and political, Melendez, often weary of the social issues and politics of the day, has created an exciting compilation of new and previously published poems in a collection that he has daringly named after himself to nudge people out of complacency. His poetry is written with satirical and ironic wit, presented in a "cascading” style that dictates the beat and rhythm of his poems he has become known for. This volume contains some of Melendez' classic poems, like "A San Diego Southern/African Night,” with new poems that are a bit edgier and challenge the status quo. Despite the frustrations and harsh realities we live in today, Melendez maintains an eternal belief that it is never too late for our future to be changed for the better, making PAPOLiTICO a poetic call for tolerance, reflection, reconciliation, and healing.
Ransom Street is Claire Millikin’s third collection of poetry with 2Leaf Press. The poems in this volume meditate on the idea of ransom to explore legacies of violence in the southeastern United States, ultimately seeking moments of reckoning for these unsettled histories. A fee paid to release a prisoner, ransom can, Millikin shows us, initiate a sacrificial act that drives people apart, but also, when paid, can bring the homeless home. The poems in Ransom Street move through the question of release elliptically, exploring these abstract implications of ransom through a fictional street in a southeastern American town. The presence of inherited violence, cultural and familial, haunt the terrain of Ransom Street, as the poems move through a geography of ghosts, always seeking “ransom,” the sacrificial act that returns the self to wholeness.
AFTER HOUSES is an extended meditation on homelessness. In unflinching, raw poetry, poet Claire Millikin explores states of homelessness, and a longing for, even a devotion to, houses—houses as spaces where one could be safe and at ease. The poems move through an American landscape, between the South and the North, between childhood and adulthood, reaching toward a home that's never reached, but always at one's fingertips. Throughout this collection, Millikin draws from personal and family history, from classical mythology and architectural theory, to shape a poetry of empathy, in which some of the places where people get lost in America are faced and given place. AFTER HOUSES echo the voices of girls who have not quite survived, but who persist, intact in the way that Rimbaud insists on intactness, in words.
TARTESSOS AND OTHER CITIES is Claire Millikin's second book of poetry with 2Leaf Press that continues to explore homelessness. In this collection, Millikin uses the sensitivity of poetry to express some of the emotions surrounded by homelessness and loss. Named for Tartessos, a lost city on the Guadalquivir, a river in Andalusia, Spain that was likely buried by a devastating tidal wave in BC, the poems in TARTESSSOS gather lost cities and places that were not myths, but were once real. Throughout the collection, Millikin addresses questions such as, What happened to home and Where do I come from? that examines American geographies of loss, with the poems serving as archeological elements that persist against these losses. From New York City to Muscogee Country, Georgia, from New Haven, to the Haw River, TARTESSOS charts a map of disappearances and resistances to vanishing that make up part of the ghostly American landscape. In the end, Millikin leads readers to discover that home is not just the place where you happen to live, it is the place where you become yourself.
SUBSTANCE OF FIRE: GENDER AND RACE IN THE COLLEGE CLASSROOM brings readers inside the four-year college experience, unfolding multiple perspectives and voices. This multi-genre book, written by college professor Claire Millikin, explores how race and gender function within the privilege of the four-year college classroom. Additional contributions are from recent graduates and current faculty, who interrogate the forces of sexism and racism from the various perspectives of gay, straight, biracial, white, African American, and Latino writers and artists. How does being a female professor differ from being a male professor? How does being a lesbian student make a difference in terms of accessing a professor's time, attention, and respect? How does having dark skin or a non-Anglo last name impact a student's freedom to pursue different majors? These and more questions are examined in THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE. As the title suggests, race and gender are not topics "under control” in higher education but instead they are flash points, tinder, waiting just under the surface of our culture that still makes the claim of equal access to higher education even as so many lives testify to the incompleteness of this so-called equality. Gender and race can ignite, causing pain in the college setting. This book goes to the place of that fire.
LAST OF THE PO'RICANS Y OTROS AFRO-ARTIFACTS, the debut poetry collection of Not4Prophet, provides an incredible verbal and musical profusion of poetry that reflects the cultural landscapes of the perpetual islands of Puerto Rican and New York City through the eyes of a Puerto Rican born in Ponce, living in El Barrio/East Harlem and the South Bronx. As he elaborates this otherness, which includes the hassles of poverty, racial pride and racial discord, Not4Prophet pays homage to the old school cats from the Nuyorican and Black Arts movements. Written in free verse and layered with cultural and historical references, LAST OF THE PO'RICANS Y OTROS AFRO-ARTIFACTS breaks boundaries and challenges us with iconic imagery and word play that dares to speak of the unspeakable. Vagabond's agit-pop artwork creates a powerful visual to Not4Prophet's raging verse.
BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED, A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS, POEMS AND PERSONAL NARRATIVES, edited by Abiodun Oyewole, extends beyond the Black Lives Matter movement's primary agenda of police brutality to acknowledge that even when affronted with slavery, segregation and Jim Crow, racial injustice and inequality, black lives have always mattered. This anthology of essays, personal narratives, poetry and prose is organized into five sections: "Mourning Black Lives That Mattered," "Black Skin/White Masks," "Black Spaces/Black Places," "Black Lives Remembered/ Reclaimed," and "The Legacy of Black Protest Continues" that addresses a wide range of hot-button issues that disproportionately impact the black community. While written primarily by African American poets, writers, activists and scholars, selections are also from people of the Latino and African diasporas, and white activists. Collectively, these 79 contributors provide a call-to-action that challenges readers to confront long-held values and beliefs about black lives, as well as white privilege and fragility, as it surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and its persistence of structural inequality. More importantly, BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED provides a first-hand perspective to a problem known to the African American community long before the Black Lives Matter movement revealed it to the general public that black lives have always mattered. Connecting the past to the present, the contributors of BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED provide an eye-opening and engaging collection that has the potential to reignite a broader push for black liberation and equality for all.
BRANCHES OF THE TREE OF LIFE is the first comprehensive volume of poems by Abiodun Oyewole, many of them never before published. Oyewole's poems are powerful, often political, always lyrical and profoundly moving. Over the course of his forty-year career and his long affiliation with The Last Poets, Oyewole is one of several poets credited for liberating American poetry by creating open, vocal, spontaneous, energetic and uncensored vernacular verse that paved the way for spoken word and Hip Hop. Using the spiritual, the sacred and the mystical, Oyewole often turns to the tree as a symbol of change and growth. His poetry re-branches into different directions, becoming grandeur in its proportions, and more complexly diversified in its structure. BRANCHES OF THE TREE OF LIFE is a living testament to a stunning career that confirms Abiodun Oyewole's place at the forefront of poetic achievement.
THE BEAUTY OF BEING, A COLLECTION OF FABLES, SHORT STORIES AND ESSAYS, is Abiodun Oyewole's debut collection of prose. Oyewole writes frankly about his experience as a young poet and activist, and provides life lessons with fables and a fascinating travelogue that promotes resilience and self-care to his readers. As the title suggests, THE BEAUTY OF BEING investigates a natural, moral, and sacred spiritual being of self-love, reminding readers if they use these elements as part of the beauty within, endless possibilities await. In his fables, Oyewole has a unique eye for the tiniest details that sheds light on the whole. In his essays, he provides an analysis about The Last Poets, the state of poetry today, and shares first-hand accounts of what activism means to him. Perhaps the most riveting part of this book are his stories of remembrance, which at first glance read like a travelogue but when closely examined, is a love story with a beautiful mediation on grief and loss. Throughout THE BEAUTY OF BEING, Oyewole brilliantly yet subtly interweaves mediations on race, class, culture, life and death, illusion and reality, while deftly showcasing several points of view in a contained space. In THE BEAUTY OF BEING, Oyewole connects to readers with sincerity, humor, heart and grace.
Monsters: Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and “Mathilda” presents Mary Shelley’s most popular works, accompanied by a critical introduction and commentary by scholar Claire Milllkin Raymond. Cultures create and ascribe meaning to monsters, endowing them with characteristics derived from their most deep-seated fears and taboos. In this volume, Millikin Raymond explores both Frankenstein and Mathilda from a feminist and cultural studies perspective, illuminating the cultural transgressions that each work presents through its monsters. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, conceived by Shelley at the age of nineteen and published before she was twenty, is the most famous and enduring imaginative work of the Romantic era. Shelley was keenly aware of contemporary scientific developments and incorporated them into Frankenstein. Monsters includes the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, which Shelley revised as an adult, respecting the artistic maturity and agency of the author. Mathilda, Shelley’s second long work of fiction written between August 1819 and February 1820, deals with taboos that haunt our society to this day: incest and suicide. Published for the first time in 1959, it has become Shelley’s best-known work after Frankenstein. The version edited by Elizabeth Nitchie in 1959 is presented here. Frankenstein and Mathilda capture readers by force of their astonishing fantasy and range of implication: the definition of “monster,” which Millikin Raymond explores as well as other aspects of the Shelley’s work. Monsters will resonate profoundly with readers with a background or interest in science fiction, history, and literature, and anyone intrigued by the fundamental questions of creativity and cultural change.
Homelessness touches every corner of our country, even the most prosperous ones. In No Vacancy: Homeless Women in Paradise, Michael E. Reid tells the story of more than five hundred women living without shelter in the affluent sea-side communities of Monterrey, Pebble Beach, and Carmel, California. Even in these glittering cities, one by one, homeless women were dying, their bodies appearing in plain sight. When Reid, an Episcopal priest, became aware of these tragedies, he had to act, and he co-founded the Fund for Homeless Women. This new venture took him deep into the complex realities homeless women face. He found that the well-meaning policies and programs in place in fact often had the unintentional effect of widening the gap between the indigent and mainstream society. No Vacancy captures the realities of homelessness in affluent northern California and exposes pitfalls encountered by those who wish to combat it. Reid provides an unvarnished look at the culture of long-term homelessness, and his experience provides helpful guidance for fighting this crisis. He also explores the root causes that can result in homelessness, including marginalization and the gender-based bias—and its disproportionate effect on women of color. This timely book provides needed guidance from the frontlines of the fight against homelessness, especially as activists and homeless people face weakened political and financial support from the government and their communities.
INCESSANT BEAUTY is a feast for the senses and the mind. Ana Rossetti (from Cadiz, Spain), who began her literary career in the late seventies soon after dictator Francisco Franco's death in 1975, is an award-winning poet and writer. She became prominent among the many women poets who used the lifting of censorship to produce a fresh, often daring, body of poetry. INCESSANT BEAUTY offers to an English-speaking audience a first glimpse into Rossetti's eclectic and voracious symbolic universe. Editor and translator Carmela Ferradans has selected poems that offer a wide range of themes and poetic registers that span more than thirty years. Presented in chronological order, the poems vary from the playful, often cheeky, early poems for which Rossetti is well-known; to the more brooding meditations on transcendental human qualities; to the latest festive celebrations of the poetic word itself. In INCESSANT BEAUTY, Rossetti maps out displacement and exile in the fringes of the heart, bringing solidarity with one another to the core of our shared humanity.
THE BEIGING OF AMERICA, BEING MIXED RACE IN THE 21ST CENTURY, takes on "race matters" and considers them through the firsthand accounts of mixed race people in the United States. Edited by mixed-race scholars Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Sean Frederick Forbes and Tara Betts, this collection consists of 39 poets, writers, teachers, professors, artists and activists, whose personal narratives articulate the complexities of interracial life. THE BEIGING OF AMERICA was prompted by cultural critic/scholar Hua Hsu, who contemplated the changing face and race of U.S. demographics in his 2009 The Atlantic article provocatively titled "The End of White America." In it, Hsu acknowledged "steadily ascending rates of interracial marriage" that undergirded assertions about the "beiging of America." THE BEIGING OF AMERICA is an absorbing and thought-provoking collection of stories that explore racial identity, alienation, with people often forced to choose between races and cultures in their search for self-identity. While underscoring the complexity of the mixed-race experience, these unadorned voices offer a genuine, poignant, enlightening and empowering message to all readers.
ADVENTURES IN BLACK AND WHITE, a memoir-travelogue first published in 1960, is being reissued with a critical introduction, including minor edits and annotations of the original text by scholar Tara Betts. Recognized as a prodigy at an early age, Philippa Duke Schuyler was heralded as America's first internationally-acclaimed mixed race celebrity. Her father, a conservative black journalist, and her mother, a white Texan heiress, dedicated Schuyler's development to the cause of integration with the claim that racial mixing could produce a superior hybrid human, a claim that Schuyler resisted, but would nonetheless hurl her into a destructive identity crisis that consumed her throughout her life. When the transition from child prodigy to concert pianist proved challenging in America, Schuyler, like many black performers before her, went abroad during the 1950s for larger audiences. Schuyler's witnessing first-hand the dissemblage of European colonies in Africa and the Middle East is the focus of ADVENTURES IN BLACK AND WHITE. This narrative connects the Harlem Renaissance to the prelude of the Civil Rights Movement at a time when the public conversation on interracial identity in America was just beginning. As Schuyler writes about Africa—"the homeland of her ancestors"—readers can begin to understand how the young musician would eventually find her way as an author and a journalist, and the books that followed.
BORICUA PASSPORT evokes the complex in-betweeness that represents the contemporary Puerto Rican condition as filtered through the prism of poet J.L. Torres' life experience. For many Puerto Ricans the sense of being unhomed—having a homeland but not really feeling at home anywhere—is a real lived experience determined by a persisting and unsettled colonial condition. In BORICUA PASSPORT, Torres, screams, shouts, rejoices, celebrates, tickles and challenges with a poetry sprinkled with Spanish/Spanglish that is immediate and urgent. His is a testimony to the indefatigable Puerto Rican spirit which, although burdened by this colonial condition, still strives to cobble a hybrid world full of love, passion and hope. BORICUA PASSPORT will transport any reader into this limbo world with all its fascinating incongruities and descriptive vistas. It's your passport into a world simultaneously real and imaginary, one most people don't even know exists. A must read!
SHRIMP, the debut poetry collection of jason vasser-elong, examines the African diaspora in a post-colonial context using shrimp as a metaphor for the small things in life. Using the shrimp motif, vasser-elong weaves together his ancestral past and present through nature, the topography of the land, and all creatures great and small, simultaneously casting a light on the broader cultural and sociopolitical issues of the day. As the author scavenges for answers about his own ancestry, vasser-elong stumbles onto the small things in life which he finds most meaningful, like the reclamation of self with a renaming that is tied to his roots in Cameroon; or colloquial name-calling reserved for those who are short in an ancestral society where being tall is the standard. The poet's journey into the past, the duality of his culture fired by eponymous random observations of life and love, leads to discoveries and an appreciation of life's lost moments. Throughout it all there is hope: something that is not always easy to hold on to when you are going through challenges both inside and outside yourself?—?but it is necessary if you are going to survive. SHRIMP is the realization of that journey.