5 Books Published by University of Wisconsin Press on AALBC — Book Cover Collage

Click for more detail about From Now On: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2015 by Clarence Major From Now On: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2015

by Clarence Major
University of Wisconsin Press (Apr 01, 2015)
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Clarence Major is a consummate artist whose work in poetry, fiction, and painting has been widely recognized. He has been part of twenty-eight group exhibitions, has had fifteen one-man shows, and has published fourteen collections of poetry and nine works of fiction. Major’s works?and this collection in particular?are distinguished by his poetic sociability and his unblinking but generous and affectionate portraiture.In From Now On, a retrospective of poems from the 1950s to the present?including selections from each of Major’s previous books of poetry as well as a generous selection of new poems?Major creates a vivid gallery of nimbly drawn characters. Here he establishes a voice that is singular and musical, one that draws witty, moving, and empathetic portraits of African American urban and country dwellers. Ultimately, this collection maintains Major’s intimate, conversational poetry while simultaneously becoming more eclectic, multicultural, and cosmopolitan. Major’s poetry is affable, but it suggests an insistence that we can connect with history and social change through the dynamic lives of the people we encounter daily.

Click for more detail about A Muslim American Slave: The Life of Omar Ibn Said by Omar Ibn Said A Muslim American Slave: The Life of Omar Ibn Said

by Omar Ibn Said
University of Wisconsin Press (Jul 20, 2011)
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sample page from A Muslim American SlaveBorn to a wealthy family in West Africa around 1770, Omar Ibn Said was abducted and sold into slavery in the United States, where he came to the attention of a prominent North Carolina family after filling “the walls of his room with piteous petitions to be released, all written in the Arabic language,” as one local newspaper reported. Ibn Said soon became a local celebrity, and in 1831 he was asked to write his life story, producing the only known surviving American slave narrative written in Arabic.

In A Muslim American Slave, scholar and translator Ala Alryyes offers both a definitive translation and an authoritative edition of this singularly important work, lending new insights into the early history of Islam in America and exploring the multiple, shifting interpretations of Ibn Said’s narrative by the nineteenth-century missionaries, ethnographers, and intellectuals who championed it.

This edition presents the English translation on pages facing facsimile pages of Ibn Said’s Arabic narrative, augmented by Alryyes’s comprehensive introduction, contextual essays and historical commentary by leading literary critics and scholars of Islam and the African diaspora, photographs, maps, and other writings by Omar Ibn Said. The result is an invaluable addition to our understanding of writings by enslaved Americans and a timely reminder that “Islam” and “America” are not mutually exclusive terms.

Click for more detail about Last Seen (Felix Pollak Prize In Poetry) by Jacqueline Jones LaMon Last Seen (Felix Pollak Prize In Poetry)

by Jacqueline Jones LaMon
University of Wisconsin Press (Mar 10, 2011)
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Inspired by actual case histories of long-term missing African American children, this provocative and heartrending collection of poems evokes the experience of what it means to be among the missing in contemporary America. This thought-provoking collection of persona poems looks at absence from the standpoint of the witnesses surrounding the void and offers an intimate depiction of those impossible moments of aftermath lived by those who remain accounted for and present. While enabling us to question our own sense of identity, this unique collection of poems reveals the blurred edges of separation between them and us and the impact that the missing have upon our present and future.

Finalist, NAACP Image Awards

Click for more detail about The Zea Mexican Diary: 7 September 1926-7 September 1986 by Kamau Brathwaite The Zea Mexican Diary: 7 September 1926-7 September 1986

by Kamau Brathwaite
University of Wisconsin Press (Jan 01, 2003)
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In May of 1986 Edward Kamau Brathwaite learned that his wife, Doris, was dying of cancer and had only a short time to live.  Responding as a poet, he began “helplessly & spasmodically” to record her passage in a diary.  Zea Mexican is a collection of excerpts from this diary and other notes from this period of the Brathwaites’ lives, and few who read this book will fail to be caught up in the depth of Edward Brathwaite’s grief.
    Zea Mexican is a tribute to Doris Brathwaite and an exploration of the creative potency of love.  (The title comes from the name Brathwaite gave Doris, who was originally from Guyana of part Amerindian descent.)  Exposing the intimacy of his  marriage, this book is the closest Brathwaite has ever come to an autobiographical statement.  In examining his life with Doris he found the courage to reveal something of his own character.  But, more than an autobiography, Zea Mexican is an extraordinary work of literature, much of it written in the expressive “nation language” of Jamaica and the Caribbean.  Brathwaite filters his pain through his poetic gift, presenting it to the reader with all the poignancy poetry conveys.

Click for more detail about The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism by Cornel West The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism

by Cornel West
University of Wisconsin Press (Aug 01, 2002)
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Taking Emerson as his starting point, Cornel West’s basic task in this ambitious enterprise is to chart the emergence, development, decline, and recent resurgence of American pragmatism. John Dewey is the central figure in West’s pantheon of pragmatists, but he treats as well such varied mid-century representatives of the tradition as Sidney Hook, C. Wright Mills, W. E. B. Du Bois, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Lionel Trilling. West’s "genealogy" is, ultimately, a very personal work, for it is imbued throughout with the author’s conviction that a thorough reexamination of American pragmatism may help inspire and instruct contemporary efforts to remake and reform American society and culture."West … may well be the pre-eminent African American intellectual of our generation."—The Nation"The American Evasion of Philosophy is a highly intelligent and provocative book. Cornel West gives us illuminating readings of the political thought of Emerson and James; provides a penetrating critical assessment of Dewey, his central figure; and offers a brilliant interpretation—appreciative yet far from uncritical—of the contemporary philosopher and neo-pragmatist Richard Rorty… . What shines through, throughout the work, is West’s firm commitment to a radical vision of a philosophic discourse as inextricably linked to cultural criticism and political engagement."—Paul S. Boyer, professor emeritus of history, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Wisconsin Project on American WritersFrank Lentricchia, General Editor