ABOUT AFRICAN AMERICAN POETRY
Library Of America, in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, presents Lift Every Voice, a nationwide celebration of the 250-year-long African American poetic tradition.
Only now, in the 21st century, can we fully grasp the breadth and range of African American poetry: a magnificent chorus of voices, some familiar, others recently rescued from neglect. Here, in this unprecedented anthology expertly selected by poet and scholar Kevin Young, this precious living heritage is revealed in all its power, beauty, and multiplicity. Discover, in these pages, how an enslaved person like Phillis Wheatley confronted her legal status in verse and how an antebellum activist like Frances Ellen Watkins Harper voiced her own passionate resistance to slavery. Read nuanced, provocative poetic meditations on identity and self-assertion stretching from Paul Laurence Dunbar to Amiri Baraka to Lucille Clifton and beyond. Experience the transformation of poetic modernism in the works of figures such as Langston Hughes, Fenton Johnson, and Jean Toomer. Understand the threads of poetic history--in movements such as the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances, Black Arts, Cave Canem, Dark Noise Collective--and the complex bonds of solidarity and dialogue among poets across time and place. See how these poets have celebrated their African heritage and have connected with other communities in the African Diaspora. Enjoy the varied but distinctly Black music of a tradition that draws deeply from jazz, hip hop, and the rhythms and cadences of the pulpit, the barbershop, and the street. And appreciate, in the anthology's concluding sections, why contemporary African American poetry, amply recognized in recent National Book Awards and Poet Laureates, is flourishing as never before. Taking the measure of the tradition in a single indispensable volume, African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song sets a new standard for a genuinely deep engagement with Black poetry and its essential expression of American genius.
ABOUT KEVIN YOUNG
Kevin Young is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and poetry editor of the New Yorker, where he also hosts the poetry podcast. From 2016-2020 he served as the director of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He is the author of thirteen books of poetry and prose, most recently Brown (Knopf, 2018), as featured on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah; Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 (Knopf, 2016), longlisted for the National Book Award; and Book of Hours (Knopf, 2014), a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets. His collection Jelly Roll: a blues (Knopf, 2003) was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
Young’s second nonfiction book, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts & Fake News (Graywolf Press, 2017), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Nonfiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and was named a New York Times Notable Book. He is the editor of nine other collections, including the anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song, from Library of America, which New York Times literary critic Parul Sehgal named one of her top 10 books of the year and which the New York Times Book Review, Esquire, TIME, the Atlantic, Good Morning America, O, the Oprah Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Shelf Awareness, Lit Hub, and Barnes & Noble named one of the best books of 2020.
He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2020. In May 2021, he will be inducted into the Academy of Arts and Letters.
- Series: Library of America (Book 233)
- Hardcover: 1170 pages
- Publisher: Library of America (October 13, 2020)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1598536664
- ISBN-13: 978-1598536669