ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Weaver does not look like the stereotypical poet on this recent weekday
in his Simmons College office. He wears a trim blue blazer, a blue shirt, and
a mild tie. No campus casual for Weaver: He dresses this way every day . . .
Books by Afaa Michael Weaver
* * * * *
Afaa Michael Weaver was born on Baltimores eastside and graduated high school during the turbulent Spring of 1968. Marking the fortieth anniversary of that personal milestone, as well as a chaotic chapter in the citys history, Weaver returns to Baltimore to read at CityLit Festival from The Plum Flower Dance at 2:00.
Weaver wrote and published poetry on the side while working factory jobs at Procter & Gamble and Bethlehem Steel. He founded 7th Son Press and published the journal Blind Alleys, which featured Andrei Codrescu, Frank Marshall Davis, and Lucille Clifton among others. As a freelancer, he has written for the Baltimore Sun, the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Chicago Tribune, and the Baltimore Afro-American. He began his teaching career as an adjunct in 1987, teaching at New York University, the City University of New York, Seton Hall Law School, and Essex County College. In 1990, he began at Rutgers Camden and received tenure with distinction there as an early candidate. In 1998, Weaver joined the English Department at Simmons College, where he founded the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center. City Lit Project.
* * * * *
* * * * *
A poet forged in heartbreakHe has just published The Plum Flower Dance, a collection of his work from 1985 to 2005. He is featured on the cover of this month’s Poets & Writers magazine. Boston University recently asked him to donate his papers to the university’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center. (Weaver said yes.) Heady stuff – absolutely none of which Weaver, now 56, takes for granted. He spent too many years working in the warehouses and steel mills of Baltimore, scribbling lines of poetry during coffee breaks. “In the warehouse, it was thousands of boxes circling aroundevery day the same thing,” he recalls. “You felt like you were being pounded into anonymity. Holding on to the poetry was a way of keeping myself alive.”
It still is, though Weaver does not look like the stereotypical poet on this recent weekday in his Simmons College office. He wears a trim blue blazer, a blue shirt, and a mild tie. No campus casual for Weaver: He dresses this way every day, as if heeding Flaubert’s advice to “Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” . . .
Weaver’s precocity was such that he skipped eighth grade and enrolled early at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, known for its rigorous curriculum and such alumni as H.L. Mencken and Dashiell Hammett. When he asked his mother for permission to try out for the football team at Poly, her refusal was couched in terms that spelled out the high hopes she had for him: “You might hurt your head, and that’s the most valuable thing you have.”
He knew that. Young Michael Weaver’s mind was so hungry for knowledge that, whatever the subject, his interest in it “exceeded the hours in the day,” says Weaver, adding: “I still feel that way now.” When he was asked to do a research project, he chose for his subject the complex architectural designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. But the careful architecture of Weaver’s own life was soon to develop cracks and fissures.
He enrolled at the University of Maryland in 1968. College Park was as far from Baltimore as he was willing to venture, and even that turned out to be too far. “I had never been totally in a white environment,” he says. “My insecurities just overwhelmed me, and after two years I came home.” In 1970, his girlfriend got pregnant, so they married. He was 19. Eager to prove himself in some way in the wider world, he joined the Army Reserves. . . .Boston.com
* * * * *
Chinese name “Wei Yafeng,” derived from “Wei” for flourishing or blossoming, and “Yafeng,” the title of a section of poems from the Book of Songs, the oldest anthology of Chinese poetry.
Since Water Song, Weaver has published eight more collections of poetry, including Multitudes, Sandy Point, and The Ten Lights of God, all of which appeared in 2000. His full length play Rosa was produced in 1993 at Venture Theater in Philadelphia under a small-Equity contract. His short fiction appears in Gloria Naylors Children of the Night and in Maria Gillans Identity Lessons.
Weaver has been a Pew fellow in poetry and taught in National Taiwan University and Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan as a Fulbright Scholar. At Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, he is the Alumnae Professor of English and director of the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center. In addition, he is Chairman of the Simmons International Chinese Poetry Conference. Poets
* * * * *
List of published books Water Song. Callaloo Press/University of Virginia, 1985 some days it’s a slow walk to evening. Paradigm Press, 1989. My Father’s Geography. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.
Gathering Voices: An Anthology of Baltimore Poets, 1986 Stations in a Dream. Dolphin Moon Press, 1993. Timber and Prayer, University of Pittsburgh, 1995. Talisman. Tia Chucha Press/Northwestern University, 1998.
These Hands I Know: African-American Writers on Family, 2002 The Ten Lights of God. Bucknell University Press, 2000. Sandy Point. The Press of Appletree Alley, 2000. Multitudes. Sarabande Books, 2000.Professional Theater Productions:Rosa. Venture Theater, Philadelphia, 1993. Small Equity production.Elvira and the Lost Prince. ETA Theater, Chicago, 1993. PDI Award.
* * * * *
Afaa Michael Weaver Speaks
In 1974 I published my first poem in a student publication at the University of Maryland, College Park, and in 1975, I gave my first poetry reading, again at the University of Maryland. In the late 1970s I began to publish more regularly in small journals. The manuscript of my first book, Water Song, was a finalist in the 1983 Walt Whitman Award competition, and in 1985 it was published in the Callaloo series at the University of Virginia. Since that first book, I have published nine others, and an eleventh collection, a translation into Arabic is now in press
In 1980 I launched my career as a free lancer for the Baltimore Sunpapers by writing op-eds. As the years went by I also wrote feature stories, book reviews, and travel stories. I also wrote for the Baltimore City Paper, the Baltimore Afro-American, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe, and the Chicago Tribune.
In 1980 I founded 7th Son Press and the literary journal Blind Alleys. The journal was active for five years, and 7th Son was a partner in the publication of an anthology of Baltimore poets entitled Gathering Voices along with Tropos press and Dolphin-Moon press. In 1996, I took over Obsidian III at North Carolina State University and headed that journal until December, 2001, when I resigned in order to pursue my Fulbright in Taiwan.
As a student in the graduate writing program at Brown, my focus was in playwriting and theater. I had two playwriting instructors, the late George Houston Bass and Paula Vogel. Vogel was my thesis advisor, and Bass was my mentor. My graduate thesis was a full length play, Rosa, which became my first professional production in 1993 at Philadelphias Venture Theater in a small Equity production. Later that same year I won the PDI Award from ETA Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago for another play, Elvira and the Lost Prince. I have written approximately twenty plays. Most recently, I have accepted an invitation to join a joint theater project between the University of Louisville and theater organizations in China, the objective of which is to write a play inspired by the history of Chinese and African Americans in Mississippi in the nineteenth century.
My short fiction is included in Gloria Naylors anthology Children of the Night and Maria Gillans anthology Identity Lessons.
My college-level teaching career began when I graduated from Brown. At the time of my graduation I was already an adjunct Assistant Professor at Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey, and I worked as an adjunct there and in New York at NYU and CUNY campuses until I received a tenure track appointment in the English department at Rutgers Camden, where I received tenure with distinction in 1995 as an early candidate.
In the spring of 1997 I served as poet in residence at the Stadler Center for poetry at Bucknell University, and that fall I accepted a position as visiting professor in the English department at Simmons College. In the spring semester of 1998 I accepted an endowed chair at Simmons as Alumnae Professor of English, which is my current position.
The Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center
As part of my appointment at Simmons I was asked to build a literary center within the college. In its ten year history, the Zora Neale Hurston Center was essentially a programming unit that hosted readings by poets and writers over the years, beginning with Alicia Ostriker and including poets such as Cynthia Hogue, Natasha Trethaway, Marilyn Chin, and many more. In 2004 the center hosted a gathering of Chinese poets, scholars, and translators, and in 2008, there was a second gathering. A chronology of my work in China and Taiwan follows this narrative.
* * * * *
A Chronological History
My Creative and Scholarly Work in China and Taiwan
Afaa Michael Weaver
2002 The Fulbright Experience in Taiwan
I spent the spring semester of 2002 teaching in Taiwan as a Fulbright scholar at National Taiwan University (NTU) in Taipei, and Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA) in Kuandu. It was during this time that I received my Chinese name from Dr. Chinghsi Perng, who was chair of the theater department at NTU.
At the end of the semester I made my first trip to Beijing, China, as a tourist for a one week vacation.
2002 The Beginning of My Formal Studies of Mandarin
When I returned to my teaching duties at Simmons in the fall semester following my time in Taiwan, I began studying Mandarin formally at Simmons by using the faculty audit. I completed the two year program, first with Zhigang Liu, and then with Alister Inglis, both of whom teach at Simmons as full time faculty. My textbooks were from Beijing and were written in the new, simplified style. I began my studies on all three levels, speaking, reading, and writing.
2003 World Congress of Poets in Taipei
My participation in this gathering of poets in Taiwan was my introduction to the community of Chinese poets there, and it was from this point that I began to formulate ideas for convening a conference of Chinese poets and specialists in the field in Boston.
2004 The Simmons International Chinese Poetry Conference
When I convened this conference in October, 2004, I discovered it was the first such gathering of specialists in the field with working poets from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong ever held outside of China or Taiwan. Major poets, including Wang Xiaoni, a matriarch in the contemporary scene, Yu Jian, one of the most well known poets in China today, Zang Di, a Beijing University professor and leading poet attended. Moreover, two of the grand old men of Chinese poetry, Zheng Chouyu and Yu Kwangchung, attended. My co-director was Dr. Michelle Yeh, and we were joined by Gorin Malmqvist, the Swedish Academy specialist in contemporary Chinese literature and Dr. Christopher Lupke of Washington State University, among many others.
2004- 2005 The Taipei Language Institute (TLI)
After the conference described above, I moved to Taiwan for the remainder of my sabbatical year for the purpose of studying Mandarin intensely. I enrolled in the Taipei Language Institute, one of the larger private schools in the country that also has branches in China, and I completed the first part of the intermediate level of the curriculum. I continued on all three levels while switching to the traditional style of writing. I completed a comprehensive test with a score of A- for speaking and reading, and B+ for writing. These records are available at the Gotlieb Center at Boston University.
2005 Beijing University Lecture
During a tour of Mainland China in April, I gave a lecture on the dual process of studying Chinese and writing poems in Chinese, which is to say language acquisition and creativity. While in Beijing the Chinese Writers Association awarded me its gold friendship medal.
2005 Teaching Taijiquan in Taiwan
After returning to Taiwan in April, I moved into the He Nan Buddhist monastery and temple in Hualien, Taiwan, to teach Taijiquan to the nuns and monks and to write.
2007 Teaching at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan
In the summer of 2007, I moved to Taiwan for two months to teach a graduate seminar in African American literature at Fu Jen Catholic University and to return to the Taipei Language Institute to continue my language studies in the next section of the intermediate level, on all three levels, speaking, reading, and writing.
2008 The Simmons International Chinese Poetry Festival
On October 3rd to 5th of that year I convened another international gathering of Chinese poets from abroad and specialists in the field, but this time I also invited American poets, many of them from the Boston area. The idea of a festival was to emphasize more of a celebratory atmosphere and organization, as the theme was of a festival as a long workshop on translation with readings in Chinese and English. Photographs were taken by a professional, Mr. Don West.
2009 Lecturing and Studying in Taiwan and China
In May, 2009, I moved to Taipei, Taiwan, to spend two months lecturing in Taiwan and China and studying in Taiwan. I gave the keynote address at the annual literary conference at Asia University and then traveled to Beijing to give lectures on contemporary American poetry at Beijing Normal University, Foreign Studies University, and Capital Normal University. In Shenyang City I gave an interview for an internet news source. Back in Taiwan I spent five weeks of daily language study at TLI.
In late spring 2009, I began the construction of a website devoted to the translation of poems primarily back and forth between Chinese and English but extending to any interested poets from other languages. The site is being constructed by Wu Design. The site will be launched in December 2009/January 2010.
NOTE: I have written and published original poems in Chinese, most notably in an anthology edited by Sandra Meek entitled Deep Travel. My translations have appeared in Drunken Boat.
* * * * *
Poetic Form: The BopA recent invention, the Bop was created by Afaa Michael Weaver during a summer retreat of the African American poetry organization, Cave Canem. Not unlike the Shakespearean sonnet in trajectory, the Bop is a form of poetic argument consisting of three stanzas, each stanza followed by a repeated line, or refrain, and each undertaking a different purpose in the overall argument of the poem.
The first stanza (six lines long) states the problem, and the second stanza (eight lines long) explores or expands upon the problem. If there is a resolution to the problem, the third stanza (six lines long) finds it. If a substantive resolution cannot be made, then this final stanza documents the attempt and failure to succeed.
Although it is a young form, the Bop already exists in variations. In addition to the three-stanza Bop, some have added a six-line fourth stanza, still ending on the refrain. Poets
* * * * *
By Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon In the evening she comes, her same unsatisfied self, with the hard, smug look of salvation. Mama, stop bothering me. When we argue, she says what youre saying is not scriptural. You need to get back in your Bible. In one dream, I slap her. Im tired of her mouth. I hate to see the evening Sun go down Yesterday, I dreamed a vampire held my wrist, dared me to wake to her, corporeal, stolid. Mama, was that you? I refused to touch her body in the casket. At the gravesite I refused everything but dry-eyed silence, her picture in my hand. I hate to see the evening Sun go down This is what I get for conjuring Mama, after me all night, fussing about the holy ghost when what I need is sleep. But last night I lay dreamless. I didnt sleep sound. I hate to see the evening Sun go down
* * * * *
Bop Form requirements:
1. select a refrain from a line of Black music
2. 3 stanzas (6 lines, 8 lines, 6 lines)
3. 1 stanza statement of a problem
2nd stanzaexpand upon problem/explain
3rd. stanzaresolve problem or share why it can’t be resolved
*end with refrain
Note from poet Mary Weems
* * * * *
About the Bop
In 1997, during a summer retreat of the African American poetry organization, Cave Canem, Afaa created this poetic form, the Bop, as an exercise for his workshop students, among whom were the late Vincent Woodard, Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, and Terrance Hayes. Inspired by Langston Hughes blues poems and the triadic structure of the Pindaric ode, Weaver established the original form of the Bop is a poetic argument consisting of three stanzas, each stanza followed by a repeated line, or refrain, and each undertaking a different purpose in the overall argument of the poem. In Afaas original form, the first stanza (six lines long) states the problem, the second stanza (eight lines long) explores or expands upon the problem, and he third stanza (six lines long) attempts a resolution. If a substantive resolution cannot be made, then this final stanza documents the attempt and failure to succeed. The refrain forms the final stanza.
As Afaa stated in revealing the form to his workshop students that the refrain was to be a line from a song, hence the direct reference to the traditions of African American musical expression. The use of such lines has to be observant of copyright restrictions where applicable. Afaas poem Rambling (The Plum Flower Dance) is a precise example of the Bops original form. The Bop was created with the hope that it would facilitate the full range of subject matter from the personal to the political and that it would, as a poetic form, be an open system, hence the lack of requirement for a specific meter and the offering of the form to poets of all races and ethnicities. Honoree Fanonne Jeffers was the first of Afaas students to publish a Bop. Evie Shockley and a few other poets have added to the form, so the Bop already exists in variations. In addition to the three-stanza Bop, some have added a six-line fourth stanza, still ending on the refrain. Others have created the double Bop, making the poem twice as long.
* * * * *
Some other poets who utilize the form include:
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon in Bop: Haunting and Spring Bop: New York, 1999 in Black Swan and in Bop: The North Star in ]Open Interval[,
Bop: To Know You Is to Love You in Honoree Fanonne Jeffers The Gospel of Barbecue,
Evie Shockleys double bop for ntozake shange and the last temptation: a 21st century bop odyssey in a half-red sea,
Green: A Bop in Tug by G.E. Patterson,
Tara Betts with Bowery and Escape of Choice in Arc & Hue,
John Murillos Bop poem in Up Jump the Boogie,
Tonya Hegamin, Amanda Johnston, Teri Ellen Cross, Alan King, Randall Horton and others.
* * * * *
Afaa Michael Weaver at Pratt LibrarySaturday, April 19, 2008, 2:00p.m.Deputy Mayor Salima Siler Marriott, Pratt Library Executive Director Dr. Carla Hayden, and CityLit Project Executive Director Gregg Wilhelm join the poet at 10:30 to declare April 19 Afaa Michael Weaver Day. Programs take place throughout the library. A complete schedule of times and locations is available at City Lit Project.
* * * * *
We had a wonderful evening tribute to Lucille Clifton at the Main Pratt Library here in Baltimore last night. I had promised myself I wouldn’t get weepy at the podium, and I wiped a few tears before I got up there. But when I got to podium and looked out at the full audience of 220 people, it was a total hallelujah feeling without tears. I was so happy to be able to talk about how “important” Lucille was to me when I was doing my apprenticeship as a poet, writing while in the factory all those years. I read a letter I wrote to Lucille just for last night, addressing her in the Spirit World, and I took the time to tell Nikki how important her work was to me when I was younger. Nikki Giovanni and I were the last two readers, and everyone gave such beautiful tributes. Joanne Gabbin was there, as well as Lynda Koolish, whose photos are the gallery display upstairs. Tonight we have a dedication for a photo exhibit for Lucille at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum on my side of town, East Baltimore. It’s all such “a beautiful thing”…:-) Nikki Giovanni and I are collectees together at Boston University’s Gotlieb Archival Center, where our papers are kept.Afaa Michael Weaver, 15 June 2012
* * * * *
#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
* * * * *
By Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection’s “lyric brilliance” and “political impulses [that] never falter.” A New York Times review stated, “Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we’re alone in the universe; it’s to acceptor at least endurethe universe’s mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith’s pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the books first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant.” Life on Mars follows Smith’s 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet’s second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans.
The Bodys Question (2003) was her first published collection. Smith said Life on Mars, published by small Minnesota press Graywolf, was inspired in part by her father, who was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope and died in 2008.
* * * * *
By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”
* * * * *
By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits.
Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarcerationbut her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.Publishers Weekly
* * * * *
By Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie
Somebody has to tell the truth sometime, whatever that truth may be. In this, her début full collection, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie offers up a body of work that bears its scars proudly, firm in the knowledge that each is evidence of a wound survived. These are songs of life in all its violent difficulty and beauty; songs of fury, songs of love. ‘Karma’s Footsteps’ brims with things that must be said and turns the volume up, loud, giving silence its last rites. “Ekere Tallie’s new work ‘Karma’s Footsteps’ is as fierce with fight songs as it is with love songs. Searing with truths from the modern day world she is unafraid of the twelve foot waves that such honesties always manifest. A poet who “refuses to tiptoe” she enters and exits the page sometimes with short concise imagery, sometimes in the arms of delicate memoir. Her words pull the forgotten among us back into the lightning of our eyes.Nikky Finney / Ekere Tallie Table
* * * * *
By Kiini Ibura Salaam
Ancient, Ancient collects the short fiction by Kiini Ibura Salaam, of which acclaimed author and critic Nalo Hopkinson writes, ”Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. She wields them to weave fierce, gorgeous stories that stroke your sensibilities, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you breathless with their beauty.” Indeed, Ms. Salaam’s stories are so permeated with sensuality that in her introduction to
, Nisi Shawl, author of the award-winning Filter House, writes, ”Sexuality-cum-sensuality is the experiential link between mind and matter, the vivid and eternal refutation of the alleged dichotomy between them. This understanding is the foundation of my 2004 pronouncement on the burgeoning sexuality implicit in sf’s Afro-diasporization. It is the core of many African-based philosophies. And it is the throbbing, glistening heart of Kiini’s body of work. This book is alive. Be not afraid.”
* * * * *
From The World and Africa, 1965
* * * * *
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
online through PayPal
* * * * *
Browse all issues
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
posted 16 April 2008