5 Books Published by Wave Books on AALBC — Book Cover Collage

Click for more detail about Perennial Fashion Presence Falling by Fred Moten Perennial Fashion Presence Falling

by Fred Moten
Wave Books (May 02, 2023)
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“some ekphrastic evening, this’ll be both criticism and poetry and failing that fall somewhere that seem like in between.” So writes poet, critic, theorist, and MacArthur fellow Fred Moten in his latest poetry collection perennial fashion presence falling.

Much like the poems found in The Feel Trio (Letter Machine 2014), which was a National Book Award finalist, and All That Beauty (Letter Machine, 2019), the poems here present Moten’s “shaped prose” on the page and the dizzying brilliance of both polyphonies and paronomasia. Within this collection, the poems hold an innate quantum curiosity about the infinitude of the present and the ways in which one could observe the history of the future. Poems beget poems, overflowing and flowering, urging deeper etymological investigations. In perennial fashion presence falling, Moten approaches the sublime, relishing that intermediary space of microtonal thought.


Click for more detail about Sho by Douglas Kearney Sho

by Douglas Kearney
Wave Books (Apr 06, 2021)
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Eschewing series and performative typography, Douglas Kearney’s Sho aims to hit crooked licks with straight-seeming sticks. Navigating the complex penetrability of language, these poems are sonic in their espousal of Black vernacular traditions, while examining histories, pop culture, myth, and folklore. Both dazzling and devastating, Sho is a genius work of literary precision, wordplay, farce, and critical irony. In his “stove-like imagination,” Kearney has concocted poems that destabilize the spectacle, leaving looky-loos with an important uncertainty about the intersection between violence and entertainment.


Click for more detail about To Float In The Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight by Terrance Hayes To Float In The Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight

by Terrance Hayes
Wave Books (Sep 04, 2018)
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In these works based on his Bagley Wright lectures on the poet Etheridge Knight, Terrance Hayes offers not quite a biography but a compilation "as speculative, motley, and adrift as Knight himself." Personal yet investigative, poetic yet scholarly, this multi-genre collection of writings and drawings enacts one poet’s search for another and in doing so constellates a powerful vision of black literature and art in America.

The future Etheridge Knight biographer will simultaneously write an autobiography. Fathers who go missing and fathers who are distant will become the bones of the stories.

There will be a fable about a giant who grew too tall to be kissed by his father. My father must have kissed me when I was boy. I can’t really say… . By the time I was eleven or even ten years old I was as tall as him. I was six inches taller than him by the time I was fifteen. My biography about Knight would be about intimacy, heartache.


Click for more detail about Olio  by Tyehimba Jess Olio

by Tyehimba Jess
Wave Books (Apr 05, 2016)
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Part fact, part fiction, Tyehimba Jess’s much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I. Olio is an effort to understand how they met, resisted, complicated, co-opted, and sometimes defeated attempts to minstrelize them.

So, while I lead this choir, I still find that
I’m being led I’m a missionary
mending my faith in the midst of this flock
I toil in their fields of praise. When folks see
these freedmen stand and sing, they hear their God
speak in tongues. These nine dark mouths sing shelt


Click for more detail about Leadbelly by Tyehimba Jess Leadbelly

by Tyehimba Jess
Wave Books (Oct 01, 2005)
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“It is exhilarating to be invited into a world so large and muscular, so rooted in history, a world where so much is at stake”. —Brigit Pegeen Kelly, National Poetry Series judge

A biography in poems, leadbelly examines the life and times of the legendary blues musician from a variety of intimate perspectives and using a range of innovative poetic forms. A collage of song, culture, and circumstance, alive and speaking.

Tyehimba Jess numerous awards include fellowships from the NEA and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. A native of Detroit, he is a proud alumnus of the Chicago Green Mill Slam teams and Cave Canem. His first nonfiction book is African American Pride: Celebrating our Achievements, Contributions, and Enduring Legacy (Citadel Press, 2003).