Saturday, March 9, 2013

ARCs: Works by Kevin Young, Tyehimba Jess & Adrian Matejka

At the moment, I own about 250 to 300 volumes and anthologies of poetry. I've really enjoyed amassing this portion of my larger personal library over the years. Of the volumes of poetry that I own, only 3 are in the form of advance reader copies (ARCs): Kevin Young's Black Maria (2005), Tyehimba Jess's Leadbelly (2005), and now Adrian Matejka's The Big Smoke (2013).

[Related: Big Publishers, ARCs, and the promotion of a Black Writer]
I received those first two in 2005 from the publishers, who knew I was planning to review the books. I'm rarely in position to review an ARC, so when I received Young's and then Jess's some months later in 2005, I thought that a new pattern was merging. Umm, no. I suspect that the small number and minor influence of us those of us writing and blogging about contemporary African American poetry place us fairly low on the short lists of folks who'll receive early looks at upcoming volumes.

I was honored and pleased to receive The Big Smoke in the mail yesterday from Adrian. He and I have been friends and colleagues for years now, and during that time, we've been having extended conversations about this upcoming book on Jack Johnson and poetry in general. I had only read or heard about 10 of the poems that would comprise the book, which contains about 52 poems.  

I look forward to reading through The Big Smoke and writing about it in the coming weeks and months. For me, this was a highly anticipate work, so I'm glad I received an advance copy.
Tyehimba Jess
Adrian Matejka    
Kevin Young

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