African American Literature
Selected Poems of Langston Hughes: A Classic Collection of Poems by a Master of American Verse
Selected Poems of Langston Hughes
A Classic Collection of Poems by a Master of American Verse
Paperback      ISBN: 067972818x
From the publication of his first book of poems, The Weary Blues, in 1926, Langston Hughes electrified readers and launched a renaissance in black writing in America.

The poems Hughes wrote celebrated the experience of invisible men and women: of slaves who rushed the boots of Washington; of musicians on Lenox Avenue; of the poor and the lovesick; of losers in the raffle of night. They conveyed that experience in a voice that blended the spoken with the sung, that turned poetic lines into the phrases of jazz and blues, and that ripped through the curtain separating high from popular culture. They spanned the range from the lyric to the polemic, ringing out wonder and pain and terror--and the marrow of the bone of life.

The poems in this collection were chosen by Hughes himself shortly before his death in 1967 and represent work from his entire career, including The Negro Speaks of Rivers, The Weary Blues, Still Here, Song for a Dark Girl, Montage of a Dream Deferred, and Refugee in America. It gives us a poet of extraordinary range, directness, and stylistic virtuosity.

"Langston Hughes is a titanic figure in 20th-century American literature . . . a powerful interpreter of the American experience." --The Philadelphia Inquirer
Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry
Looking for Lorraine
The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry
Paperback      ISBN: 0807039837
Winner of the 2019 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction

Winner of the Shilts-Grahn Triangle Award for Lesbian Nonfiction

Winner of the 2019 Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award

A New York Times Notable Book of 2018

A revealing portrait of one of the most gifted and charismatic, yet least understood, Black artists and intellectuals of the twentieth century.

Lorraine Hansberry, who died at thirty-four, was by all accounts a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinching commitment to social justice, which brought her under FBI surveillance when she was barely in her twenties. While her close friends and contemporaries, like James Baldwin and Nina Simone, have been rightly celebrated, her story has been diminished and relegated to one work--until now. In 2018, Hansberry will get the recognition she deserves with the PBS American Masters documentary "Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart" and Imani Perry's multi-dimensional, illuminating biography, Looking for Lorraine.

After the success of A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry used her prominence in myriad ways: challenging President Kennedy and his brother to take bolder stances on Civil Rights, supporting African anti-colonial leaders, and confronting the romantic racism of the Beat poets and Village hipsters. Though she married a man, she identified as lesbian and, risking censure and the prospect of being outed, joined one of the nation's first lesbian organizations. Hansberry associated with many activists, writers, and musicians, including Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, among others. Looking for Lorraine is a powerful insight into Hansberry's extraordinary life--a life that was tragically cut far too short.

A Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Book for Nonfiction

A 2019 Pauli Murray Book Prize Finalist
Brother, I'm Dying
Brother, I'm Dying
Paperback      ISBN: 1400034302

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography
A National Book Award Finalist
A New York Times Notable Book

From the age of four, award-winning writer Edwidge Danticat came to think of her uncle Joseph as her "second father," when she was placed in his care after her parents left Haiti for America. And so she was both elated and saddened when, at twelve, she joined her parents and youngest brothers in New York City. As Edwidge made a life in a new country, adjusting to being far away from so many who she loved, she and her family continued to fear for the safety of those still in Haiti as the political situation deteriorated.

In 2004, they entered into a terrifying tale of good people caught up in events beyond their control. Brother I'm Dying is an astonishing true-life epic, told on an intimate scale by one of our finest writers.

The Word: Black Writers Talk about the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing
The Word
Black Writers Talk about the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing
Paperback      ISBN: 0767929918
Critically acclaimed Black writers reveal how books have shaped their personal lives--in often unexpected ways.

In these thirteen strikingly candid interviews, bestselling authors, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and writers picked by Oprah's Book Club discuss how the acts of reading and writing have deeply affected their lives by expanding the conceptual borders of their communities and broadening their sense of self.

Edwidge Danticat movingly recounts the first time she encountered a Black character in a book and how this changed her worldview forever; Edward P. Jones speaks openly about being raised by an illiterate mother; J. California Cooper discusses the spiritual sources of her literary inspiration; Nathan McCall explains how reading saved his life while in prison; Pearl Cleage muses eloquently about how other people's stories help one make one's own way in the world; and world-renowned historian John Hope Franklin--in one of the last interviews he gave before his death--touchingly recalls his childhood in the segregated South and how reading opened his mind to life's greater possibilities.

The stories that emerge from these in-depth interviews not only provide an important record of the creative life of leading Black writers but also explore the vast cultural and spiritual benefits of reading and writing, and they support the growing initiative to encourage people to read as both a passion and a pastime.
The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience and Change Agent
The Whiskey of Our Discontent
Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience and Change Agent
Paperback      ISBN: 1608467635

Winner of the 2017 Central New York Book Award for nonfiction

Finalist for the 2017 Chicago Review of Books Award

The first black woman to be named United States poet laureate, Brook's poetry, fiction, and social commentary shed light on the beauty of humanity, the distinct qualities of black life and community, and the destructive effects of racism, sexism, and class inequality.

A collection of thirty essays combining critical analysis and personal reflection, The Whiskey of Our Discontent, presents essential elements of Brooks' oeuvre--on race, gender, class, community, and poetic craft, while also examining her life as poet, reporter, mentor, sage, activist, and educator.

East-West Literary Imagination: Cultural Exchanges from Yeats to Morrison
East-West Literary Imagination
Cultural Exchanges from Yeats to Morrison
Hardcover      ISBN: 0826220800

This study traces the shaping presence of cultural interactions, arguing that American literature has become a hybridization of Eastern and Western literary traditions. Cultural exchanges between the East and West began in the early decades of the nineteenth century as American transcendentalists explored Eastern philosophies and arts. Hakutani examines this influence through the works of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. He further demonstrates the East-West exchange through discussions of the interactions by modernists such as Yone Noguchi, Yeats, Pound, Camus, and Kerouac.

Finally, he argues that African American literature, represented by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and James Emanuel, is postmodern. Their works exhibit their concerted efforts to abolish marginality and extend referentiality, exemplifying the postmodern East-West crossroads of cultures. A fuller understanding of their work is gained by situating them within this cultural conversation. The writings of Wright, for example, take on their full significance only when they are read, not as part of a national literature, but as an index to an evolving literature of cultural exchanges.

The Panther & the Lash
The Panther & the Lash
Paperback      ISBN: 067973659x
From the publication of his first book in 1926, Langston Hughes was America's acknowledged poet of color, the first to commemorate the experience--and suffering--of Black Americans in a voice that no reader could fail to hear.

The poems in The Panther and the Lash are the last testament of a great American writer who grappled fearlessly and artfully with the most compelling issues of his time.

In this, his last collection of verse, Hughes's voice--sometimes ironic, sometimes bitter, always powerful--is more pointed than ever before, as he explicitly addresses the racial politics of the sixties in such pieces as Prime, Motto, Dream Deferred, Frederick Douglas: 1817-1895, Still Here, Birmingham Sunday. History, Slave, Warning, and Daybreak in Alabama.
Progress Compromised: Social Movements and the Individual in African American Postmodern Fiction
Progress Compromised
Social Movements and the Individual in African American Postmodern Fiction
Hardcover      ISBN: 0807169927

In Progress Compromised, John L. Glenn examines how African American literature engages in debates about the political and cultural tensions prompted by black social movements during the 1950s and 1960s. Glenn presents detailed case studies of four major novels that illuminate specific periods crucial in the history of African American political struggles, including campaigns for racial integration, the zenith of the civil rights movement, black nationalism, and the immediate legacy of the civil rights era. His analysis provides a nuanced understanding of black postmodern culture and shows how writers use fiction to postulate new modes of resistance and selfhood that defy societal constraints.

In Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist, the first black female elevator inspector and her male counterparts reconsider their notions of what progress means for African Americans newly integrated into civil service and mass industry. Alice Walker's Meridian observes the novel's title character as she copes with the psychological distress experienced by activists participating in the civil rights movement, emphasizing how they bear the psychic and emotional weight of their struggle for equality. John Oliver Killens's satire The Cotillion; or, One Good Bull Is Half the Herd considers class stratification among black communities and social organizations by following the protagonists as they expose the biases of a society women's group, set against a backdrop of late-1960s black nationalism. Finally, Toni Morrison's Tar Baby concerns members of the post-civil rights generation who struggle to achieve self-renewal through introspection while confronting unresolved issues about racial identity and socioeconomic mobility.

Progress Compromised showcases the discourse on black cultural politics circulating within late-twentieth-century African American literature, revealing how postmodern fiction investigates the effects of historical movements on individuals, their respective communities, and their efforts to resist social conformity and retain personal identity.
The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language, and Twentieth-Century Literature
The Dialect of Modernism
Race, Language, and Twentieth-Century Literature
Hardcover      ISBN: 0195085167

The Dialect of Modernism uncovers the crucial role of racial masquerade and linguistic imitation in the emergence of literary modernism.
Rebelling against the standard language, and literature written in it, modernists, such as Joseph Conrad, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams reimagined themselves as racial aliens and mimicked the strategies of dialect speakers in their work. In doing so, they made possible the most radical representational strategies of modern literature, which emerged from their attack on the privilege of standard language.
At the same time, however, another movement, identified with Harlem, was struggling to free itself from the very dialect the modernists appropriated, at least as it had been rendered by two generations of white dialect writers. For writers such as Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, and Zora Neale Hurston, this dialect became a barrier as rigid as the standard language itself.
Thus, the two modern movements, which arrived simultaneously in 1922, were linked and divided by their different stakes in the same language. In The Dialect of Modernism, Michael North shows, through biographical and historical investigation, and through careful readings of major literary works, that however different they were, the two movements are inextricably connected, and thus, cannot be considered in isolation. Each was marked, for good and bad, by the other.

Harlem Renaissance and Beyond: Literary Biographies of 100 Black Women Writers 1900-1945
Harlem Renaissance and Beyond
Literary Biographies of 100 Black Women Writers 1900-1945
Paperback      ISBN: 0674372557

The lives and works of 100 black women novelists, short-story writers, playwrights, poets, essayists, critics, historians, journalists, and editors are chronicled in this book. All wrote between 1900 and 1945 and among those examined are Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Dunham and Angelina Weld Grimke. Drawing on archival research and interviews, the book traces its subjects' contribution to literature, their concerns about race and gender, and their influences on their modern day counterparts in American literature. The book also explores the political, economic, and social awareness of the time.