Dr. Jerry Ward on Edwidge Danticat

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[By Jerry W. Ward, Jr] It is hard to classify Edwidge Danticat, to map where her imagination is located between the future and the past. She writes well.  This adverbial compliment identifies her as a successful rebel. She satisfies the demands of commerce and undermines those demands in her critiques of banality. Is she an American writer? Yes. She writes in and about the Americas. […]

Alice Walker, Autobiographical Contract, and Sciences of Memory

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[By Jerry Ward, Jr.] Definition is essential.  What does womanist mean and what is its relation to feminist?  Does the assertion that womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender explain saturation as a major difference in historical experience?  The various essays, bits of interviews, poetry (inside prose frames) and reviews collected in Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens (1983) suggest an […]

5 Reasons Gayl Jones’ Eva’s Man is an Important Novel to Read

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[By Will Cunningham] Gayl Jones’s Eva’s Man should be on more syllabi. I have found the novel to be not only the lesser read of Jones’s work, but also a seldom-taught text within Academia. Eva’s Man is chock full of material begging for analysis – material that also calls for intense introspection from its readers. If a syllabi brought you to this post, then good on […]

Biomythography in the Life Narrative and the Poems of Audre Lorde

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[By Simone Savannah] This semester, I am enrolled in Dr. Maryemma Graham’s “Life Writing: Contemporary Autobiography—Theory and Practice Course”. Many of the texts we have read this semester interestingly complicate the concepts of autobiography and memoir. For example, Audre Lorde refers to her life narrative as a biomythography. In “Self-Representation: Instabilities in Gender, Genre, and Identity,” Leigh Gilmore writes, “…self/life/writing—is exchanged for the terrain of […]

Black Literary Images (1)

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[By Kenton Rambsy] A key figure during the Harlem Renaissance and author of Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Zora Neale Hurston’s interests in folklore and intra-racial conflicts served as the basis for the majority of her anthropological studies, short stories, and novels. Usually, two images of Hurston are widely circulated (the top images at the top of the compilation). These images have the ability […]

“They’ve Done Taken My Blues and Gone:” Listening to Langston Hughes: a New Year’s Resolution

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[By Maryemma Graham] Like most people, I have been looking back over the year these last few days, thinking especially about the spikes in the news.  It’s easy to be political, given the November election, putting Obama in the White House for a second term, giving him and the nation another first. But since 2013 is the thirtieth anniversary for the Project on the History […]

Making the Connection with Gwendolyn Brooks: Maud Martha & “Kitchenette Building”

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[By Simone Savannah] Gwendolyn Brooks Maud Martha (1953) is said to be an example of the decline of the protest novel because it offers a shift to optimism. The novella is semi-autobiographical as it does not offer a straight memoir of Brook’s lived experiences. Additionally, Maud Martha  is structured in vignettes which adds to the very poetic personal story of the protagonist. Furthermore, the novella […]