|Click to enlarge|
The Poetry Report: a series
|Audre Lorde (credit: poetryfoundation)|
|Student at SIUE/East St. Louis Charter School reading Kevin Young's jelly roll.|
We do need a sociology of African-American literature to account for changes in mode of production (writing and publishing) and in reading patterns (why do Black readers read what they read when they read?) Unless we begin to ask and seek answers to so-called extraliterary questions, we shall fail to see that Black literature is an integral part of our culture not a superstructure of the culture.In a future post, I'll return to Ward's keen observation about Black Aesthetic to black aesthetics, but for now, I want to concentrate on the issue of a sociology of African American readers and reading habits. Among other things, addressing issues concerning why African American readers what they read when they read would assist us in understanding the connections and disconnections between some readers and contemporary poetry.
|Students at the East St. Louis Charter School checking out Nikki Giovanni's poems|
|Hughes's Let America Be America with preface by Senator John Kerry and Alexander's Praise Song for the Day|
|Kevin Young's Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels and Thylias Moss's Slave Moth|
Despite the international stature of Toni Morrison, she has yet to receive the national recognition that her five major works of fiction entirely deserve: she has yet to receive the keystone honors of the National Book Award or the Pulitzer Prize. We, the undersigned black critics and black writers, here assert ourselves against such oversight and harmful whimsy.
|Colson Whitehead books|
|Homegirls, Cindy, Kacee, and Aiesha at the Strand in NYC|