26 Books Published by Northwestern University Press on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about A Death in Harlem: A Novel by Karla FC Holloway A Death in Harlem: A Novel

by Karla FC Holloway
TriQuarterly Books (Sep 15, 2019)
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”Holloway’s debut novel will take you on a journey that reveals a fresh, richly layered, and rarely seen — or imagined — view of early twentieth-century black life and society. Fascinating characters, rich period detail, secrets, scandals, power, privilege, poverty, and plenty of plot twists make for an unforgettable and unflinching glimpse into a world that many will find surprising, mysterious, and possibly even mythical. Others of us know how real this world was, is. Nella [Larsen] would be pleased.” —Virginia DeBerry, coauthor of Better Than I Know Myself

Holloway, the James B. Duke Professor Emerita of English and Law at Duke University, weaves a page-turning mystery in the bon vivant world of the Harlem Renaissance. Taking as her point of departure the tantalizingly ambiguous “death by misadventure” at the climax of Nella Larsen’s 1929 best-selling novel Passing, Holloway takes readers back to the sunlit boulevards and shaded sidestreets of Jazz Age New York. A murder there will test the mettle, resourcefulness, and intuition of Harlem’s first “colored” policeman, Weldon Haynie Thomas.

Clear glass towers rising in Manhattan belie a city where people are often not what they seem. For some here, identity is a performance of passing — passing for another race, for another class, for someone safe to trust. Thomas’s investigation illuminates the societies and secret societies, the intricate code of manners, the world of letters, and the broad social currents of 1920s Harlem.

A Death in Harlem is an exquisitely crafted, briskly paced, and impeccably stylish journey back to a time still remembered as a peak of American glamour. It introduces Holloway as a fresh voice in storytelling, and Weldon Haynie Thomas as an endearing and unforgettable detective.

Holloway’s novel is one of those rare literary jewels from an African American author that will be a proud and prized addition to bookshelves everywhere for years to come.


Click for more detail about Seduction: New Poems, 2013-2018 by Quincy Troupe Seduction: New Poems, 2013-2018

by Quincy Troupe
TriQuarterly Books (Dec 15, 2018)
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The world is made of seductions. In Quincy Troupe’s Seduction, the "I" becomes the "Eye," serving as metaphor and witness in a narrative compilation from a master of poetic music. Elegies and dramatic odes look at the seduction of all things loved or hated, especially the man made of color. How did the killings of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Trayvon Martin seduce the public’s eye and catch the fire of racism? How did Aretha Franklin seduce us with voice and twang? How does the art of Romare Bearden or Jack Whitten still tell our truths, fantasies, and oppressions?

time is a bald eagle, a killer soaring high in the blue, / music to men
dodging bullets in speeding cars, / knew death, hoped it’d never come . . .

In this collection we are seduced by Troupe’s opus. This is the poet’s art laid bare. He is our "Eye." Visions of the transatlantic slave trade, portraits of American violence, pop culture, and historical voices are the lyrical relics in Troupe’s masterful verse. One of American literature’s most important rhythmical artists, Troupe has created a chronicle reaching through history for the collective "I/Eye" that is all of us.


Click for more detail about Ghost Voices: A Poem in Prayer by Quincy Troupe Ghost Voices: A Poem in Prayer

by Quincy Troupe
TriQuarterly Books (Dec 15, 2018)
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If we were all brave enough to resurrect the voices lost from our humanity, what would they say? Award-winning poet Quincy Troupe, spokesman for the humanizing forces of poetry, music, and art, parts the Atlantic and rattles the ground built on slavery with Ghost Voices: A Poem in Prayer.

we are crossing, / we are / crossing, / we are crossing in big salt water, // we are crossing, // crossing under a sky of no guilt / we have left home // though we know we will go back / someday, / see our people / as we knew them . . .

Troupe re-creates the history of lost voices between the waters of Africa, Cuba, and the United States. His daring poetics drenched in new forms-notably the seven-elevens-clench transformative narratives spurred on by a relentless, rhythmic language that mimics the foaming waves of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. His personae speak quantum litanies within one epic, sermonic-gospel to articulate our most ancient ways of storytelling and survival.


Click for more detail about Pardon My Heart: Poems by Marcus Jackson Pardon My Heart: Poems

by Marcus Jackson
TriQuarterly Books (Apr 15, 2018)
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Pardon My Heart is an exploration of love in the contemporary African American ethos. In this lyrically complex collection, the speakers and subjects—the adult descendants of the Great Migration—reckon with past experiences and revelatory, hard-earned ideas about race and class.

With a compelling blend of narrative, musicality, and imagery, Jackson’s poems span a multitude of scenes, landscapes, and sensations. Pardon My Heart examines intimacy, memory, grief, and festivity while seeking out new, reflective sectors within emotion and culture. By means of concise portraiture and sonic vibrancy, Jackson’s poems ultimately express the urgency and pliability of the human soul.


Click for more detail about Roads, Where There Are No Roads: A Novel by Angela Jackson Roads, Where There Are No Roads: A Novel

by Angela Jackson
TriQuarterly Books (Apr 15, 2017)
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In this highly anticipated sequel to her acclaimed first novel, Where I Must Go, Angela Jackson continues the remarkable story of Magdalena Grace. As a black student at the predominantly white Eden University, Maggie found herself deeply involved in conflict. Now, out in the wider world, she and her beloved Treemont Stone evolve into agents of change as they become immersed in the historical events unfolding around them—the movements advocating for civil rights, black consciousness, black feminism, the rights of the poor, and an end to the war in Vietnam. Rendered in prose so lyrical and luminous as to suggest a dream, Roads, Where There Are No Roads is a love story in the greatest sense, celebrating love between a man and a woman, between family members, and among the members of a community whose pride pushes them to rise up and resist. This gorgeously written novel will resonate with readers today as incredibly relevant, uplifting hearts and causing eyes to water with sorrow and delight.


Click for more detail about Incendiary Art: Poems by Patricia Smith Incendiary Art: Poems

by Patricia Smith
TriQuarterly Books (Feb 15, 2017)
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One of the most magnetic and esteemed poets in today s literary landscape, Patricia Smith fearlessly confronts the tyranny against the black male body and the tenacious grief of mothers in her compelling new collection, "Incendiary Art." She writes an exhaustive lament for mothers of the "dark magicians," and revisits the devastating murder of Emmett Till. These dynamic sequences serve as a backdrop for present-day racial calamities and calls for resistance. Smith embraces elaborate and eloquent language ""her gorgeous fallen son a horrid hidden / rot. Her tiny hand starts crushing roses one by one / by one she wrecks the casket s spray. It s how she / mourns a mother, still, despite the roar of thorns"" as she sharpens her unerring focus on incidents of national mayhem and mourning. Smith envisions, reenvisions, and ultimately reinvents the role of witness with an incendiary fusion of forms, including prose poems, ghazals, sestinas, and sonnets. With poems impossible to turn away from, one of America s most electrifying writers reveals what is frightening, and what is revelatory, about history. "


Click for more detail about City of Bones: A Testament by Kwame Dawes City of Bones: A Testament

by Kwame Dawes
TriQuarterly Books (Jan 15, 2017)
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As if convinced that all divination of the future is somehow a re-visioning of the past, Kwame Dawes reminds us of the clairvoyance of haunting. The lyric poems in City of Bones: A Testament constitute a restless jeremiad for our times, and Dawes’s inimitable voice peoples this collection with multitudes of souls urgently and forcefully singing, shouting, groaning, and dreaming about the African diasporic present and future.As the twentieth collection in the poet’s hallmarked career, City of Bones reaches a pinnacle, adding another chapter to the grand narrative of invention and discovery cradled in the art of empathy that has defined his prodigious body of work. Dawes’s formal mastery is matched only by the precision of his insights into what is at stake in our lives today. These poems are shot through with music from the drum to reggae to the blues to jazz to gospel, proving that Dawes is the ambassador of words and worlds.


Click for more detail about The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named: Poems by Nicole Sealey The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named: Poems

by Nicole Sealey
Northwestern University Press (Apr 15, 2016)
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The Poetry and Poetics Colloquium, in conjunction with Northwestern University Press, is delighted to announce that Nicole Sealey is the winner of the fourth annual Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named will be published by Northwestern University Press with a planned launch party at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago in January 2016.At turns humorous and heartbreaking, The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named explores in both formal and free verse what it means to die, which is to say, also, what it means to live. In this collection, Sealey displays an exquisite sense of the lyric, as well as an acute political awareness. Never heavy-handed or dogmatic, the poems included in this slim volume excavate the shadows of both personal and collective memory and are, at all points, relentless. To quote the poet herself, here is a debut as luminous and unforgiving "as the unsparing light at tunnel’s end."


Click for more detail about Forest Primeval: Poems by Vievee Francis Forest Primeval: Poems

by Vievee Francis
TriQuarterly Books (Nov 30, 2015)
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"Another Anti-Pastoral," the opening poem of Forest Primeval, confesses that sometimes "words fail." With a "bleat in [her] throat," the poet identifies with the voiceless and wild things in the composed, imposed peace of the Romantic poets with whom she is in dialogue. Vievee Francis’s poems engage many of the same concerns as her poetic predecessors—faith in a secular age, the city and nature, aging, and beauty. Words certainly do not fail as Francis sets off into the wild world promised in the title. The wild here is not chaotic but rather free and finely attuned to its surroundings. The reader who joins her will emerge sensitized and changed by the enduring power of her work.


Click for more detail about The Tragedy of King Christophe by Aimé Césaire The Tragedy of King Christophe

by Aimé Césaire
Northwestern University Press (Feb 28, 2015)
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The Tragedy of King Christophe (1963, revised 1970) is recognized as the Martiniquan writer and activist Aime Cesaire’s greatest play. Set in the period of upheaval in Haiti after the assassination of Jean-Jacques Dessalines in 1806, it follows the historical figure of Henri Christophe, a slave who rose to become a general in Toussaint Louverture’s army. Christophe declared himself king in 1811 and ruled the northern part of Haiti until 1820. Cesaire employs Shakespearean plotting and revels in the inexhaustible possibilities of language to convey the tragedy of Christophe’s transformation from a charismatic leader sensitive to the oppression of his people to an oppressor himself. Paul Breslin and Rachel Ney’s nimble, accurate translation includes an introduction and explanatory notes to guide students, scholars, and general readers alike.


Click for more detail about It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time: Poems by Angela Jackson It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time: Poems

by Angela Jackson
TriQuarterly Books (Feb 15, 2015)
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Angela Jackson’s latest collection of poetry borrows its title from a lyric in Barbara Lewis’s 1963 hit single “Hello Stranger,” recorded at Chess Records in Chicago. Like the song, Jackson’s poems are a melodic ode to the African American experience, informed by both individual lives and community history, from the arrival of the first African slave in Virginia in 1619 to post-Obama America.It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time reflects the maturity of Jackson’s poetic vision. The Great Migration, the American South, and Chicago all serve as signposts, but it is the complexity of individual lives—both her own and those who have gone before, walk beside, and come after—that invigorate this collection. Upon surveying so vast a landscape, Jackson finds that sorrow meets delight, and joy lifts up anger and despair. And for all this time, love is the agent, the wise and just rule and guide.


Click for more detail about Like a Misunderstood Salvation and Other Poems (Agm Collection) by Aimé Césaire Like a Misunderstood Salvation and Other Poems (Agm Collection)

by Aimé Césaire
Northwestern University Press (May 31, 2013)
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Annette Smith and Dominic Thomas’s new translations of Aimé Césaire’s Like a Misunderstood Salvation and Solar Throat Slashed (poems deleted) expose to a new audience a pivotal figure in twentieth-century French literature. This collection presents the early and last stages of a po­et’s course, encapsulating in one volume Césaire’s entire literary career and creative evolution as perhaps the only French poet writing simultaneously at the crossroads of the avant-garde and classical movements. 

This volume’s inclusion of previously deleted poems from Solar Throat Slashed is politically important; despite their initial exclusion from a French republication of Soleil Cou Coupé in 1961, these thirty-one poems are crucial to understanding Césaire’s legacy and remain of tremendous pertinence today as they provide helpful ways of thinking about and contextualizing discussions on race, identity, global identities, and the links between “black conscious­ness” and “social consciousness.”


Click for more detail about Autogeography: Poems by Reginald Harris Autogeography: Poems

by Reginald Harris
Northwestern University Press (Apr 30, 2013)
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Winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize
In his second collection of poetry, Reginald Harris traverses real and imagined landscapes, searching for answers to the question “What are you?” From Baltimore to Havana, Atlantic City to Alabama—and from the broad memories of childhood to the very specific moment of Marvin Gaye singing at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game shortly before his death—this is a travel diary of internal and external jour­neys exploring issues of race and sexuality. The poet trav­eler falls into and out of love and lust, sometimes coupled, sometimes alone. Autogeography tracks how who you are changes depending on where you are; how where you are and where you’ve been determine who you are and where you might be headed.


Click for more detail about Pitch Dark Anarchy by Randall Horton Pitch Dark Anarchy

by Randall Horton
TriQuarterly Books (Feb 28, 2013)
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Pitch Dark Anarchy investigates the danger of one single narrative with multilayered poems that challenge concepts of beauty and image, race and identity, as well as the construction of skin color.

Through African American memory and moments in literature, the poems seek to disrupt and dismantle foundations that create erasures and echoes of the unremembered. Pitch Dark Anarchy uses the slave revolt of the Amistad as a starting point, a metaphor for "opposition" and “against.” These themes run through the very core for the book while drawing on inventive and playful language. The poems bring to life human experiences and conditions created by an “elite” society.

In these poems, locations and landscapes are always shifting, proving that our shared experiences can be interchangeable. At the very core of Pitch Dark Anarchy is a seven-part poem based on the artist Margret Bowland’s Another Thorny Crown Series, which are paintings of an African American girl in white face.


Click for more detail about Horse in the Dark: Poems by Sanderia Faye Horse in the Dark: Poems

by Sanderia Faye
Northwestern University Press (Aug 31, 2012)
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In the next chapter of the Cave Canem/Northwestern University Poetry Prize, we enter the poetic world of Vievee Francis. Bold and skilled, Francis takes us into the still landscapes of Texas and the fluid details of the African American South. Her poems become panhandle folktales revealing the weight of memories so clear and on the cusp. Her creative tangle of metaphors, people and geography will keep the reader rooted in a good earth of extraordinary verse.


Click for more detail about Head Off & Split: Poems by Nikky Finney Head Off & Split: Poems

by Nikky Finney
TriQuarterly Books (Jan 27, 2011)
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Winner, 2011 National Book Award for Poetry
Winner, 2012 GLCS Award for Poetry
Winner, 2012 SIBA Book Award for Poetry
Nominee, 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry

The poems in Nikky Finney’s breathtaking new collection Head Off & Split sustain a sensitive and intense dialogue with emblematic figures and events in African American life: from civil rights matriarch Rosa Parks to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, from a brazen girl strung out on lightning to a terrified woman abandoned on a rooftop during Hurricane Katrina. Finney’s poetic voice is defined by an intimacy that holds a soft yet exacting eye on the erotic, on uncanny political and family events, like her mother’s wedding waltz with South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, and then again on the heartbreaking hilarity of an American president’s final State of the Union address. 
 Artful and intense, Finney’s poems ask us to be mindful of what we fraction, fragment, cut off, dice, dishonor, or throw away, powerfully evoking both the lawless and the sublime.


Click for more detail about Where I Must Go: A Novel (Triquarterly Books) by Angela Jackson Where I Must Go: A Novel (Triquarterly Books)

by Angela Jackson
Northwestern University Press (Sep 30, 2009)
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Lyrical, penetrating, and highly charged, this novel displays a delicately tuned sense of difference and belonging. Poet Angela Jackson brings her superb sense of language and of human possibility to the story of young Magdalena Grace, whose narration takes readers through both privilege and privation at the time of the American civil rights movement. The novel moves from the privileged yet racially exclusive atmosphere of the fictional Eden University to the black neighborhoods of a Midwestern city and to ancestral Mississippi. Magdalena’s story includes a wide range of characters—black and white, male and female, favored with opportunity or denied it, the young in love and elders wise with hope. With and through each other, they struggle to understand the history they are living and making. With dazzling perceptiveness, Jackson’s narrator Magdalena tells of the complex interactions of people around her who embody the personal and the political at a crucial moment in their own lives and in the making of America.


Click for more detail about Teeth by Aracelis Girmay Teeth

by Aracelis Girmay
Curbstone Books (Jun 01, 2007)
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Winner, 2015 Whiting Award for Poetry Stunning, highly original poems that celebrate the richness of the author’s multicultural tradition, Teeth explores loves, wars, wild hope, defiance, and the spirit of creativity in a daring use of language and syntax. Behind this language one senses a powerful, inventive woman who is not afraid to tackle any subject, including rape, genocide, and love, always sustained by an optimistic voice, assuring us that in the end justice will triumph and love will persevere.LOVE,
you be the reason why
we swagger & jive,
lift the guitar, & pick up the axe.
when it is i tilt my hat to the side,
wearing colors & perfumes, it’s cause, love,
you did it to me. oh,
you do sure turn my tongue to fiddle,
& make the salt taste sweet. man,
i don’t need a rooster, or peacock even,
to help me spend my time, nope,
just you, love, right & solid as
a line.


Click for more detail about How We Sleep On The Nights We Don’t Make Love by E. Ethelbert Miller How We Sleep On The Nights We Don’t Make Love

by E. Ethelbert Miller
Curbstone Books (Apr 01, 2004)
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In this wide-ranging collection of lyrics, dealing with such themes as family, love, racism, and war, E. Ethelbert Miller sets his scenes against the backdrop of the stark realities of contemporary life, here and abroad. As both his love poems and political poems attest, Miller believes with full faith in the transformative powers of love and understanding. His poems on friendship and love are tender, often whimsical. His political poems are evenhanded and compassionate.


Click for more detail about Brown Glass Windows by Devorah Major Brown Glass Windows

by Devorah Major
Curbstone Books (Apr 01, 2002)
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Brown Glass Windows is the story of the Evermans, an African-American family in the Filmore District of San Francisco and the tragic history of their son, Ranger, who returns scarred from his experiences in Vietnam and struggles with drug addiction. Ironically, when he finally conquers his drug habit, he is killed meaninglessly in a drive-by shooting. Ranger’s death causes the family, with its suppressed recriminations and accumulated resentments, to pass through the crisis and come out on the other side of grief stronger and more united. The novel is also a kind of elegy to the old Filmore District. As Ranger says, they’ve redeveloped the neighborhood "into a little doorway to hell," a comment that will resonate deeply with readers not only in San Francisco, but in Hartford, L.A. and other urban centers throughout the country, where people have lost their once closely-knit neighborhoods either through urban decay or gentrification, or both. Brown Glass Windows is a beautifully structured book employing techniques of magical realism-a grittily realistic narrative framed by the spirit world. The novel is narrated by a spirit of a woman 200 years old, who watches over her elderly Black friend, Victoria. Victoria, a wonderfully eccentric character, who paints herself white and strives to be invisible, plays an important role in the healing of the Everman family. devorah major, an accomplished poet, invests her novel’s landscape and characters with layers of meaning without ever obfuscating the realistic surface narrative (one is reminded of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison). Brown Glass Windows gives us a rich blend of realism and imagination, elegizing the passing of an era and presenting vibrant characters who move into the future with hope and courage.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Maroon by Danielle Legros Georges Maroon

by Danielle Legros Georges
Curbstone Books (Nov 01, 2001)
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Maroon is the debut collection of Haitian-American poet Danielle Georges who writes of the pain of exile, the beauty of nature, and the delights of love in highly rhythmic, highly original language. The range of her voice is remarkable-from the comic to the tragic to the lyric, but always her poetry is electric with an overpowering zest for life and vitality of language.


Click for more detail about Meteor in the Madhouse by Leon Forrest Meteor in the Madhouse

by Leon Forrest
TriQuarterly Books (Apr 04, 2001)
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In the wake of his watershed novel Divine Days, Leon Forest began an even more ambitious project, a collection of novellas that he hoped would be the culmination of his life’s work and of the fictional world of Forest County, which he had created in his five earlier novels. Although slowed by devastating illness in 1997, Forrest’s labor on his masterwork continued; while the novel assumed a focus tighter than he had originally intended, Forrest felt just before his untimely death that he had succeeded in bringing a unified vision to the manuscript of Meteor in the Madhouse. Meteor in the Madhouse is a novel made up of five interconnected novellas framed by an account of the last days in the life of journalist Joubert Antoine Jones, a character immortalized in Divine Days. The central relationship in the novel is that of Joubert and his adoptive kin and fellow writer Leonard Foster. A symbol of the struggle for freedom and equality, Leonard’s search for truth — leading him into political agitation, cultish religion, and eventual death from drug addiction — immerses Joubert in feelings of guilt and frustration when he is unable to save his friend and mentor. As Joubert reflects on Leonard’s death, he is both haunted and rejuvenated by the characters and episodes of their shared past. We meet the women in Joubert’s life: foster mother Lucasta Jones, whose aesthetic and erotic potential goes unfulfilled; Lucasta’s sister Gussie, irrepressible in her zest for life; and Jessie Ma Fay Battle Barker, known for her indomitable spirit and largesse. Joubert recalls his visits with Leonard and Leonard’s further breakdown in the face of humorous memories from their youth: the behavior of theDeep Brown Study Eggheads who inhabited the wonderfully diverse rooming house near Joubert’s alma mater; and the characters fre- quenting Fountain’s House of the Dead — a funeral home by day and a brothel by night. As Joubert and his relations tackle the forces of love, lust, alcohol, drugs, violence, and family, Joubert becomes the symbol of the soul’s search for authenticity. With introductions by editors John G. Cawelti and Merle Drown, Meteor in the Madhouse emerges as Forrest’s most vivid portrayal of the great diversity of urban African American life.


Click for more detail about And All These Roads Be Luminous: Poems Selected and New by Angela Jackson And All These Roads Be Luminous: Poems Selected and New

by Angela Jackson
TriQuarterly Books (Feb 20, 1998)
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As Angela Jackson has developed as a poet, her poetry has engaged various artistic perspectives yet always maintains a characteristic combination of compassion, grace, and daring. Drawing from earlier works contained in chapbooks, And All These Roads Be Luminous is filled with a world of characters engaged in explorations of identity, sexuality, creativity, and spirituality—all revealed through a passionate verse brimming with surprises.


Click for more detail about The Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown by Sterling Brown The Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown

by Sterling Brown
TriQuarterly Books (Apr 08, 1996)
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Arguably the greatest African-American poet of the century, Sterling Brown was instrumental in bringing the traditions of African-American folk life to readers all over the world. This is the definitive collection of Brown’s poems, and the only edition available in the U.S.


Click for more detail about Dark Legs and Silk Kisses: The Beatitudes of the Spinners by Angela Jackson Dark Legs and Silk Kisses: The Beatitudes of the Spinners

by Angela Jackson
TriQuarterly Books (Nov 15, 1993)
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Winner of the Carl Sandburg Award for Poetry

Angela Jackson brings her remarkable linguistic and poetic gifts to the articulation of African-American experience. The recurrent motif of the spider, which she presents as both creator and predator, demonstrates her deliberate reshaping of myth in the context of contemporary human experience. Informed by African-American speech and poetic traditions, yet uniquely her own, these poems display Jackson’s stylistic grace, her exuberance and vitality of spirit, and her emotional sensitivity and psychological insight.


Click for more detail about Through the Stonecutter’s Window by Indigo Moor Through the Stonecutter’s Window

by Indigo Moor
Northwestern University Press (Nov 30, -0001)
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The inaugural winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize, Indigo Moor’s Through the Stonecutter’s Window is a sustained and impressive dialogue with the visual arts, history, the natural world, and the poet’s dreams and nightmares. The verse dances polyrhythmically across and down each page. Always in motion, Moor’s lines are choreographed to make sense of all that is most elusive in meaning: music, violence, love, anger, and desire.