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Malin Pereira’s collection of eight interviews with leading contemporary African American poets offers an in-depth look at the cultural and aesthetic perspectives of the post–Black Arts Movement generation.

This volume includes unpublished interviews Pereira conducted with Wanda Coleman, Yusef Komunyakaa, Thylias Moss, Harryette Mullen, Cornelius Eady, and Elizabeth Alexander, as well as conversations with Rita Dove and Cyrus Cassells previously in print. Largely published since 1980, each of these poets has at least four books. Their influence on new generations of poets has been wide-reaching.

The work of this group, says Pereira, is a departure from the previous generation’s proscriptive manifestos in favor of more inclusive voices, perspectives, and techniques. Although these poets reject a rigid adherence to a specific black aesthetic, their work just as effectively probes racism, stereotyping, and racial politics. Unlike Amiri Baraka’s claim in “Home” that he becomes blacker and blacker, positioning race as a defining essence, these poets imagine a plurality of ideas about the relationship between blackness and black poetry. They question the idea of an established literary canon defining black literature. For these poets, Pereira says, the idea of “home” is found both in black poetry circles and in the wider transnational community of literature.

A Sarah Mills Hodge Foundation Publication.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820337135
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 12/01/2010
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

MALIN PEREIRA is a professor and chair of the Department of English at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She is the author of Rita Dove’s Cosmopolitanism and Embodying Beauty: Twentieth-Century American Women Writers’ Aesthetics.

Table of Contents

Walking Into the Light: Contemporary Black Poetry, Traditions, and the Individual Talent

Wanda Coleman
Yusef Komunyakaa
Rita Dove
Harryette Mullen
Thylias Moss
Cornelius Eady
Cyrus Cassells
Elizabeth Alexander


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