17 Books Published by Wayne State University Press on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about come see about me, marvin by Brian Gilmore come see about me, marvin

by Brian Gilmore
Wayne State University Press (Sep 03, 2019)
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come see about me, marvin is accessible, honest poetry about and for real people. In the collection, brian g. gilmore seeks to invite the reader into a fantastical dialogue between himself and Marvin Gaye—two black men who were born in the nation’s capital, but who moved to the Midwest for professional ambitions. In trying to acclimate himself to a new job in a new place—a place that seemed so different from the home he had always known—gilmore often looked to Marvin Gaye as an example for how to be. These poems were derived as a means of coping in a strange land.

The book is divided into four sections, beginning with section one, “love that will shelter you,” and features poems about dealing with life in Michigan as it is in reality. Sections two and three, "nowhere to hide" and "no ordinary pain," include poems about the brutality of the Midwest and some of the historical realities as gilmore came to understand them. The final section, "let your love come shining through," attempts to invoke hope in poetry.

come see about me, marvin is gilmore’s answer to life’s perplexing issues, with Marvin Gaye as the perfect vehicle to explore these ideals. Readers of poetry and lovers of Motown will embrace this love letter to a local legend.

Reviews:

In come see about me, marvin, brian g. gilmore captures everyday wonders like the loneliness interrupted by his mother who arrives to the still-cold Michigan May chill that

crawled up her
spine like snakes scarfing
food.

In this collection, Gilmore reveals a people who moved—moved by music, moved by flavors and food, moved by wintery weather, moved from the South, moved through evictions, moved by words written by Paul Laurence Dunbar and read by the speaker and his best friend Ronnie Beavers when they are too young to understand what the words mean. In fact, as Gilmore writes in another poem,

something about men darker than
chunks of coal kicking around a soccer ball w
not
a care in the world in one of the coldest places is
reassuring
His poems are gray watercolor brushwork of Michigan—this bird in hand. He is a migrant bumping into memory. This poetry draws water from dark soil. – V Efua Prince, author of Burnin’ Down the House and Daughter’s Exchange

gilmore’s come see about me, marvin balances the difficult quest through memory and the past through the window of the present. In his characteristic deceptively simple style, gilmore solos and riffs his way through the present and past looking into the heart of one America’s most tragic cities. come see about me, marvin lies somewhere between the taste of food, the gust of wind that comes from good music, and the unpredictable journey through our current difficult times. Readers will see into the heart of music, the heart of the author, and the heart of the Midwest. – Bro. Yao (Hoke S. Glover III), author of Inheritance

In come see about me, marvin, poet gilmore’s literary toolbox is on full display, offering a poetic soundtrack rooted in the African American vernacular tradition, paying homage to the many black writers that help shape the current landscape of contemporary poetry. Through the backdrop of Michigan’s ‘cold winter streets’ and the beautifully written ‘distant lover’ series, influenced by Motown legend Marvin Gaye, the reader is escorted on a journey, exploring the social, political, and economic state of this country while pondering the epiphanous question asked by Gaye in 1971, as in: what’s going on? Gilmore is very aware of the literary shoulders he stands on. Be prepared to be dazzled by a poet in full bloom. – Randall Horton, poet and memoirist


Click for more detail about Know the Mother by Desiree Cooper Know the Mother

by Desiree Cooper
Wayne State University Press (Mar 14, 2016)
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While a mother can be defined as a creator, a nurturer, a protector-at the center of each mother is an individual who is attempting to manage her own fears, desires, and responsibilities in different and sometimes unexpected ways. In Know the Mother, author Desiree Cooper explores the complex archetype of the mother in all of her incarnations. In a collage of meditative stories, women-both black and white-find themselves wedged between their own yearnings and their roles as daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and wives.In this heart-wrenching collection, Cooper reveals that gender and race are often unanticipated interlopers in family life. An anxious mother reflects on her prenatal fantasies of suicide while waiting for her daughter to come home late one night. A lawyer miscarries during a conference call and must proceed as though nothing has happened. On a rare night out with her husband, a new mother tries convincing herself that everything is still the same. A politician’s wife’s thoughts turn to slavery as she contemplates her own escape: "Even Harriet Tubman had realized that freedom wasn’t worth the price of abandoning her family, so she’d come back home. She’d risked it all for love." With her lyrical and carefully crafted prose, Cooper’s stories provide truths without sermon and invite empathy without sentimentality.Know the Mother explores the intersection of race and gender in vignettes that pull you in and then are gone in an instant. Readers of short fiction will appreciate this deeply felt collection.


Click for more detail about Roses and Revolutions: The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall by Melba Joyce Boyd Roses and Revolutions: The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall

by Melba Joyce Boyd
Wayne State University Press (Aug 18, 2009)
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Dudley Randall was one of the foremost voices in African American literature during the twentieth century, best known for his poetry and his work as the editor and publisher of Broadside Press in Detroit. While he published six books of poetry during his life, much of his work is currently out of print or fragmented among numerous anthologies. Roses and Revolutions: The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall brings together his most popular poems with his lesser-known short stories, first published in The Negro Digest during the 1960s, and several of his essays, which profoundly influenced the direction and attitude of the Black Arts movement. Roses and Revolutions: The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall is arranged in seven sections: "Images from Black Bottom," "Wars: At Home and Abroad," "The Civil Rights Era," "Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects," "Love Poems," "Dialectics of the Black Aesthetic," and "The Last Leap of the Muse." Poems and prose are mixed throughout the volume and are arranged roughly chronologically. Taken as a whole, Randall’s writings showcase his skill as a wordsmith and his affinity for themes of love, human contradictions, and political action. His essays further contextualize his work by revealing his views on race and writing, aesthetic form, and literary and political history. Editor Melba Joyce Boyd introduces this collection with an overview of Randall’s life and career. The collected writings in Roses and Revolutions not only confirm the talent and the creative intellect of Randall as an author and editor but also demonstrate why his voice remains relevant and impressive in the twenty-first century. Randall was named the first Poet Laureate of the City of Detroit and received numerous awards for his literary work, including the Life Achievement Award from the National Endowment of the Arts in 1986. Students and teachers of African American literature as well as readers of poetry will appreciate this landmark volume.


Click for more detail about Dear Chester, Dear John by John A. Williams and Lori Williams Dear Chester, Dear John

by John A. Williams and Lori Williams
Wayne State University Press (Feb 08, 2008)
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Chester Himes and John A. Williams met in 1961, as Himes was on the cusp of transcontinental celebrity and Williams, sixteen years his junior, was just beginning his writing career. Both men would go on to receive international acclaim for their work, including Himes’s Harlem detective novels featuring Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson and Williams’s major novels The Man Who Cried I Am, Captain Blackman, and Clifford’s Blues. Dear Chester, Dear John is a landmark collection of correspondence between these two friends, presenting nearly three decades worth of letters about their lives and loves, their professional and personal challenges, and their reflections on society in the United States and abroad.

Prepared by John A. Williams and his wife, Lori, this collection contains rare and personal glimpses into the lives of Williams and Himes between 1962 and 1987. As the writers find increasing professional success and recognition, they share candid assessments of each others’ work and also discuss the numerous pitfalls they faced as African American writers in the publishing world. The letters offer a window into Himes’s and Williams’s personalities, as the elder writer reveals his notoriously difficult and suspicious streak, and Williams betrays both immense affection and frustration in dealing with his old friend. Despite several rifts in their relationship, Williams’s concern for Himes’s failing health ensured that the two kept in touch until Himes’s death.

Dear Chester, Dear John is a heartfelt and informative collection that allows readers to step behind the scenes of a lifelong friendship between two important literary figures. Students and teachers of African American literature will enjoy this one-of-a-kind volume.


Click for more detail about Blue-Tail Fly by Vievee Francis Blue-Tail Fly

by Vievee Francis
Wayne State University Press (Mar 21, 2006)
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The title of Blue-Tail Fly comes from an antebellum song commonly known as "Jimmy Crack Corn." The blue-tail fly is a supposedly insignificant creature that bites the horse that bucks and kills the master. In this collection, poet Vievee Francis gives voice to "outsiders"-from soldiers and common folk to leading political figures-who play the role of the blue-tail fly in the period of American history between the Mexican American War and the Civil War. Through a diverse range of styles, characters, and emotions, Francis’s poems consider the demands of war, protest and resistance to it, and the cross-cultural exchanges of wartime. More than a narrowly themed text, Blue-Tail Fly is a book of balances, weighing the give-and-take of people and cultures in the arena of war. For lovers of poetry and those interested in American history, Blue-Tail Fly will illustrate the complexities of the American past and future.


Click for more detail about What Mama Said: An Epic Drama (African American Life Series) by Osonye Tess Onwueme What Mama Said: An Epic Drama (African American Life Series)

by Osonye Tess Onwueme
Wayne State University Press (Jun 01, 2003)
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Renowned playwright Osonye Tess Onwueme’s powerful new drama illuminates the effect of national and global oil politics on the lives of impoverished rural Nigerians. What Mama Said is set in the metaphorical state of Sufferland, whose people are starving and routinely exploited and terrorized by corrupt government officials and multinational oil companies-that is, until a voice erupts and moves the wounded women and youths to rise up and demand justice. Onwueme’s powerful characters and vibrant, emotionally charged scenes bring to life a turbulent movement for change and challenge to tradition. Aggrieved youths and militant women-whose husbands and sons work in the refineries or have been slaughtered in the violent struggle-take center stage to "drum" their pain in this drama about revolution. Determined to finally confront the multinational forces that have long humiliated them, Sufferland villagers burn down pipelines and kidnap an oil company director. Tensions peak, and activist leaders are put on trial before a global jury that can no longer ignore the situation. What Mama Said is a moving portrayal of the battle for human rights, dignity, compensation, and the right of a nation’s people to control the resources of their own land.


Click for more detail about Liberation Memories: The Rhetoric And Poetics Of John Oliver Killens (African American Life Series) by Keith Gilyard Liberation Memories: The Rhetoric And Poetics Of John Oliver Killens (African American Life Series)

by Keith Gilyard
Wayne State University Press (Apr 01, 2003)
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No serious history of the development of the African American novel from the 1950s onward can be written without reference to John Oliver Killens. A two-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize and founding chairman of the legendary Harlem Writers Guild, Killens was regarded by many as a spiritual father who inspired a generation of African American novelists with his politically charged works. And yet today he rarely receives proper critical attention. Seeking to strengthen our understanding of this important literary figure, Keith Gilyard departs from standard critical frameworks to reveal Killens’s novels as artful renderings of rich African American rhetorical forms and verbal traditions. Gilyard finds that many critics, adhering to ideals of art for art’s sake or narrative conciseness, are ill-equipped to appreciate the many ways in which Killens’s fiction succeeds. Rejecting the "pure art" position, Killens sought to articulate Black heroism particularly within a family or community context, offering a set of values he deemed liberatory. He focused on rendering noble and polemical characters, and his work represents a distinguished fusion of sociopolitical persuasion (rhetoric) and literary artifact (poetics). To help illuminate such novels as Youngblood (1954), And Then We Heard the Thunder (1962), and The Cotillion (1971), Gilyard examines Killens’s work as an essayist and cultural organizer, highlighting his activism. His life and literary production can be partly characterized, Gilyard suggests, by the African American jeremiad-a major rhetorical form in the Black intellectual tradition expressing faith that America’s destiny is to become an authentic, pluralistic democracy.


Click for more detail about Looking Within/Mirar adentro: Selected Poems/Poemas escogidos, 1954-2000 by Nancy Morejón Looking Within/Mirar adentro: Selected Poems/Poemas escogidos, 1954-2000

by Nancy Morejón
Wayne State University Press (Dec 01, 2002)
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The African Cuban poet Nancy Morejón set out at a young age to explore the beauty and complexities of the life around and within her. Themes of social and political concern, loyalty, friendship and family, African identity, women’s experiences, and hope for Cuba’s future all found their way into her poems through bold metaphor and tender lyricism. This panoramic anthology, selected from ten volumes of Morejón’s work and organized by theme, contains some poems that have already been acclaimed in several languages, others that are less known, and some never before published. Overall they present to Morejón’s readership an enhanced, broader, and updated spectrum of her poetry in a Spanish-English edition.Although Morejón does not sympathize as much with intellectualized feminism as with "street" feminism (the kind that erupts with force as it confronts daily life), her poems illuminate issues in women’s existence. Without intending to, she has revitalized contemporary Caribbean feminist literary discourse. One can find in her work the tensions between colonizer and colonized, dominator and dominated, and at the same time enjoy the sheer beauty of images depicting suffering, strength, and hope.


Click for more detail about Abandon Automobile: Detroit City Poetry 2001 by Melba Joyce Boyd Abandon Automobile: Detroit City Poetry 2001

by Melba Joyce Boyd
Wayne State University Press (Sep 01, 2001)
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Do poets’ surroundings shape their viewpoint and work? Abandon Automobile seeks to address this question by bringing together the work of more than one hundred of Detroit’s most acclaimed and accessible poets. Writing about location as if it were a living entity, these poets visualize Detroit as a variety of complex archetypes-the city becomes a savior, a beast, a nurturing mother, a seductress, a friend, an enemy. Like the city itself, the poetry represented is diverse and the poems are by turns tender, forceful, introspective, and vital. In the introduction to the volume, Melba Joyce Boyd and M. L. Liebler show how Detroit’s poetry scene has changed over the years to embrace political movements and cultural transformations. Readers will find that one doesn’t need to be a Detroit native to enjoy the many themes of this anthology. The exciting range of voices represented in this collection will appeal to anyone interested in poetry, regional literature, and urban life.


Click for more detail about Tell It to Women: An Epic Drama for Women (African American Life Series) by Osonye Tess Onwueme Tell It to Women: An Epic Drama for Women (African American Life Series)

by Osonye Tess Onwueme
Wayne State University Press (Mar 01, 1997)
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Using the magic of movement, dance, and drama, and the devices of humor and metaphor, Osonye Tess Onwueme has created a post-feminist epic drama that transcends current feminist theories. An ideologically and politically powerful work, Tell It to Women offers a critical discourse on the western feminist movement from an African traditional perspective, focusing attention on the often silenced issues of intra-gender politics and class inequities.


Click for more detail about Let’s Flip the Script: An African American Discourse on Language, Literature, and Learning by Keith Gilyard Let’s Flip the Script: An African American Discourse on Language, Literature, and Learning

by Keith Gilyard
Wayne State University Press (Oct 01, 1996)
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In Let’s Flip the Script, respected poet and essayist Keith Gilyard broadens the debate about language and education. Fusing insights derived from practical experience with knowledge drawn from an impressive and interdisciplinary array of texts, he examines-always with an eye on the state of
African America-connections among language, politics, expressive culture, and pedagogy. This book is a rousing contribution to the African American intellectual tradition.


Click for more detail about Letters to America: Contemporary American Poetry on Race by Jim Daniels Letters to America: Contemporary American Poetry on Race

by Jim Daniels
Wayne State University Press (Dec 01, 1995)
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Letters to America features the work of poets who have had the courage to write about race with honesty and passion. Speakign from the experience of Black, Native American, Asian, Arabic, Indian, Hispanic, and white culture, their diverse voices unite in a dialogue of poems which acknowledge and celebrate our differences while exploring America’s shameful history of racial intolerance. The poets in this anthology include Gwendolyn Brooks, Charles Bukowski, Joy Harjo, Langstong Hughes, Sharon Olds, James Wright, Etheridge Knight, Gary Soto, Garrett Kaoru Hongo, Audre Lorde, David Ignatwo, and others.


Click for more detail about Discarded Legacy: Politics and Poetics in the Life of Frances E. W. Harper, 1825-1911 by Melba Joyce Boyd Discarded Legacy: Politics and Poetics in the Life of Frances E. W. Harper, 1825-1911

by Melba Joyce Boyd
Wayne State University Press (Jun 01, 1994)
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Frances E. W. Harper is a central figure in the history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century African-American literature and intellectual thought. The foremost poet of the "free colored community," she was also a lecturer,
educator, essayist, and novelist. A prolific champion of the abolitionist and feminist causes, she has come to be recognized for the critical role she played in the rise of the women’s movement, particularly in the development of the black women’s movement. Yet neither her art nor her political insight was preserved by subsequent generations until recently.In this important study, poet Melba Joyce Boyd analyzes Harper not simply as a feminist and an activist, but as a writer. Boyd reads her in context, placing Harper’s life, poetry, novels, and speeches within the nineteenth century African-American quest for
"freedom and literacy."Harper’s genius is illuminated as Boyd traces her radicalism through her struggles with issues of race, gender, and class, and the other personal and social injustices she
confronted. Discarded Legacy comprises three parts: "The Abolitionist Years," "The Pursuit of the Promised Land," and "The Woman’s Era." These divisions characterize the thrust of the historical periods which encompass Harper’s lifetime and the thematic
focus of her writings. Though Harper’s primary political emphasis is on slavery and the Reconstruction, she sustains a strong feminist voice throughout these times and in all of her writings. Likewise, during the women’s era, she maintains an anti-racist stance and strongly criticizes racism in white
feminist politics.Boyd’s response to Harper’s work is interactive and improvisational, and whenever possible, she maintains Harper’s voice, allowing her to speak about her own work. When analyzing Harper’s language, Boyd provides insight into Harper’s aesthetic by
discussing the writings thematically and structurally within a biographical framework. Finally, by examining Harper’s use of traditional poetic techniques, language, oral tradition forms, and other tools, Boyd
demonstrates how Harper’s art and politics are synthesized into a dynamic whole.This book weaves Harper’s radical vision with the intuitive and analytical dimensions of her imagination and language. Through perceptive explication of Harper’s writings and
consideration of her thematic inclinations and political and social affiliations, Boyd is able to show how Harper crafted her subjects and how the literature and speeches interrelated
in theme and historical experience. Boyd has successfully arranged Harper’s work in a manner that connects our present to Harper’s past and that re-envisions her consciousness.


Click for more detail about Three Plays: The Broken Calabash / Parables for a Season / The Reign of Wazobia (African American Life ) by Osonye Tess Onwueme Three Plays: The Broken Calabash / Parables for a Season / The Reign of Wazobia (African American Life )

by Osonye Tess Onwueme
Wayne State University Press (Sep 01, 1993)
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This anthology of plays by Tess Onwueme, one of the bright new literary artists in contemporary drama, allows a glimpse into the lives of the people of Onwueme’s native Nigeria and reveals the range and beauty of Nigerian culture. At the same time, Three Plays sheds light on the reality of the human condition and the conflicts that arise between the individual and society.


Click for more detail about Voices Of The Self: A Study Of Language Competence (African American Life Series) by Keith Gilyard Voices Of The Self: A Study Of Language Competence (African American Life Series)

by Keith Gilyard
Wayne State University Press (Jul 01, 1991)
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A unique blend of memoir and scholarship, Keith Gilyard’s Voices of the Self is a penetrating analysis of the linguistic and cultural "collision" experienced by African-American students in the public education system. Gilyard examines black students "negotiate" their way through school and discusses the tension between the use of Black English and Standard English, underlining how that tension is representative of the deeper conflict that exists between black culture and white expectations. Vivid descriptions-often humorous, sometimes disturbing, always moving-of Gilyard’s own childhood experiences in school and society are interlaced with chapters of solid sociolinguistic scholarship. Encompassing the perspectives of both the "street" and the "academy," Voices of the Self presents an eloquent argument for cultural and linguistic pluralism in American public schools.


Click for more detail about Great Black Russian: A Novel On The Life And Times Of Alexander Pushkin (African American Life) by John O. Killens Great Black Russian: A Novel On The Life And Times Of Alexander Pushkin (African American Life)

by John O. Killens
Wayne State University Press (Sep 01, 1989)
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Alexander Pushkin was born into nineteenth-century czarist Russia at a time when the state and the church were supreme. The aristocracy was enamored of French culture and peasants were little more than slaves. The literati generally regarded the Russian language as ill fit for creative expression until Pushkin proved otherwise. His writing challenged the authority of the czar while his own wanton values gave rise to troubling guilt. Yet in his short and tumultuous lifetime, Pushkin rose to great prominence as Russia’s most important poet and literary figure. In Great Black Russian, John Oliver Killens renders a sweeping fictional account of Alexander Pushkin, drawing on the conflicts, both internal and external, that continually assailed him. Of particular significance is Pushkin’s African heritage on his mother’s side. His great-grandfather, Ibrahim Hannibal, was an Ethiopian prince captured as a youth by Turks. Acquired not long after by the czar as an adornment for his court, the young man became known as "the Negro of Peter the Great" and was eventually named a general in the czar’s army. Under the ancestral tutelage of his beloved maternal grandmother, Pushkin took pride in his African lineage. Yet he was ever conscious that it relegated him to the margins of society. Moreover, Pushkin suffered genuine emotional abuse at the hand of his mother for being the darkest, most Africanoid of her four children. Other tensions were also at play in Pushkin. His antagonism toward the absolute power of the czar, expressed in his earlier works led to surveillance and censorship by the government and contributed to his love-hate relationship with his homeland. His heavy drinking and excessive womanizing troubled him since this aristocratic profligacy conflicted with his desire for social reform. His wife’s well-known love affair with a young Frenchman precipitated a duel that ended his life. Killens weaves all of this into his compelling narrative to present a Pushkin whose varied feelings range from compassion and concern for others to bouts of depression and despair. Part Russian, part African, a poet, and a womanizer, the Alexander Pushkin of Killen’s Great Black Russian romances change, revolution, and danger and yet in his interior turmoil withdraws into the realm of dreams and fantasy.


Click for more detail about The Spook Who Sat by the Door by Sam Greenlee The Spook Who Sat by the Door

by Sam Greenlee
Wayne State University Press (May 01, 1989)
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A classic in the black literary tradition, The Spook Who Sat by the Door is both a comment on the civil rights problems in the United States in the late 60s and a serious attempt to focus on the issue of black militancy. Dan Freeman, the "spook who sat by the door," is enlisted in the CIA’s elitist espionage program. Upon mastering agency tactics, however, he drops out to train young Chicago blacks as "Freedom Fighters" in this explosive, award-winning novel. As a story of one man’s reaction to ruling-class hypocrisy, the book is autobiographical and personal. As a tale of a man’s reaction to oppression, it is universal. A publication in the African American Life series.




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