Fertile Ground is an unbelievable package of diverse work. We have new science fiction from Amiri Baraka, Kalamu ya Salaam and Kiini Ibura Salaam. We also have manuscript excerpts from books which are now published: Haki Madhubuti presents two exquisitely crafted "love/marriage poems" from HeartLove, and Sonia Sanchez gives us a section from Does Your House Have Lions?. There is also an excerpt from a work in progress by master poet Kamau Braithwaite (1994 winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature). Kamau tackles the thorny issue of genocide in Rwanda. There is also a major excerpt from an innovative work about cultural memory from Tobago-born, Canadian resident M. Nourbese Philip. Educator, lawyer, and former Black Panther leader Kathleen Cleaver is writing her memoirs; we have "The Summer of Love," the chapter which describes her being courted by Eldridge Cleaver's. Educator, musicologist and theologist Jon E. Spencer, author of Blues And Evil, presents a provocative view of blues as an alternative theology to Christianity. The Atlanta Committee for Black Liberation, a collective of cultural activists, documents an insightful critique of the "Million Man March." Writer and award winning anthologist (In Search Of Color Everywhere) E. Ethelbert Miller offers a tribute poem to Langston Hughes. Mississippi poet Charlie Braxton graces us with two blues-based poetic gems. Baton Rouge poet Erren Kelly gifts us with a poignant and gripping narrative poem about the Black father/son relationship. From Africa we have three new poems by South African poet Keorapetse Kgositsile and a major essay on "time, poetry and the blues" by Ghana's leading poet, Kofi Anyidoho. And there's much more!
Fertile Ground includes a very special tribute section highlighting the work of literary critic Stephen Henderson, author of the seminal anthology, Understanding The New Black Poetry. Three of Henderson's powerful and insightful essays (two of which are previously unpublished) are included. Henderson has produced a body of criticism that is unparalleled in its depth, scope and originality.
Also featured are New Orleans photographers Gus Bennett, Terri Mimms and Eric Waters; graphic artists Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier of Atlanta and Douglas Redd of New Orleans; plus mixed-media visual artist Renee Stout, who received critical acclaim for her touring exhibit, "Dear Robert, I'll See You At The Crossroads." Fertile Ground also highlights the work of three Black writers workshops. The Carolina African American Writers' Collective, led by poet Lenard D. Moore, is represented by twelve writers. From Liverpool, England we get the work of the Griot Workshop which displays a healthy sampling of dub and music-influenced poetry. From New Orleans we get the work of eleven writers of the Nommo Literary Society.