New Bones: Contemporary Black Writers in America

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9780130141279: New Bones: Contemporary Black Writers in America
From the Inside Flap:

PREFACE This book New Bones is an amazing collection. Of course, we can say this because of the extensive work that has been put into completing the project. But there are other reasons for holding this anthology in high esteem, including that it is the first and most extensive collection of its kind. There are other well-regarded texts that collect contemporary writings by African Americans, but those works often organize around a theme, genre, or subject matter. New Bones pulls together, in one well-compiled resource, writings by Black writers since 1970, the time period that many readers are most familiar with and intrigued by. What makes New Bones an even more exciting collection is the way that it brings together well-known writers and newer voices, creating a lovely gathering of Black voices. These are, quite literally, new bones.

In organizing the anthology we have selected works that best represent authors, but also works that introduce and expand ideas of what contemporary African-American literature is. We have chosen a broad spectrum of writing: fiction, poetry, autobiography, nonfiction essays, speeches, plays; covering a wide range of topics, including relationships, gender, history, social problems, migration, education, mythology, color, identity, language, amongst others. We have also carefully avoided, in most cases, using excerpts of works, especially with fiction, and instead used representative short fiction when possible so that the reader can appreciate the entire piece. In the cases where excerpts are used, we have offered a generous selection for context.

There are three prominent features of the anthology that bear some comment; the first is the introductory essay that precedes each writer. This essay serves to introduce the reader to the writer using biographical and career information as well as providing a brief overview of the themes and aesthetics of the included selections. These introductory essays also offer ways of reading the work, sometimes give insight on common ways that a writer or a work has been received, and often make reference to other writers in the anthology whose work evokes similar themes or ideas. In this way, the introductory essays serve to clarify the incredible web that is contemporary African-American literature.

Another important feature of New Bones is the inclusion of "Focused Study" sections. These focused studies aim to give a reader a more extensive introduction to a particular writer, and in this respect, those sections are significantly longer than others. Each focused study provides a longer introductory essay, a wider selection from the author's work, and at least one secondary essay relevant to the author (for example, an interview, or a critical essay). The eight such sections included are divided across genres and subject matter, and also highlight newer as well as established writers.

A final noteworthy feature is the very comprehensive introductory essay that proceeds this preface. This essay, written in very readable prose, provides a very effective introduction to contemporary African-American literature, offering insight into the historical and political factors that preceded this body of writers. The essay further explores the development of contemporary aesthetics in various genres. What is most effective about this essay is the way that it offers general and thematic frameworks with specific examples, such that readers of other works included in the anthology can readily consider texts in light of the body of information in the introduction. The anthology also includes key artwork by Black visual artists in the last thirty years, and ends with a list of writers not included in the anthology, but who are also part of this larger body of contemporary African-American writers and thinkers.

We hope that you will find this collection useful, inspiring, and engaging.

Kevin Everod Quashie
R. Joyce Lausch
Keith D. Miller

From the Back Cover:

NEW BONES: CONTEMPORARY BLACK WRITERS IN AMERICA

, by Kevin Quashie, Joyce Lausch, and Keith D. Miller, the first text of its kind, presents the largest, most inclusive multi-genre anthology of contemporary (1970 to the present) African-American literature. This volume includes works from all genresófiction, poetry, drama, essays, speeches, and mixed-genre worksóby well-known as well as lesser-known authors, many never previously anthologized. New Bones comprehensively captures the breadth, scope, depth, and impact of contemporary African-American literature.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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