Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers

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9780688168766: Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers
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Standing at the crossroads of American literature and the current African American renaissance, Giant Steps presents a vibrant and wonderfully diverse collection of young black writing. Through generous selections of award-winning poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by writers born after 1960, this groundbreaking anthology welcomes readers into the future of African American writing.

Taking its spirit and title from the John Coltrane composition released in 1960, Giant Steps offers an extraordinary window into post-civil rights literature. From Edwidge Danticat and Colson Whitehead to Rebecca Walker and Hilton Als, these authors are not "emerging" but have already arrived. They are National Book Award finalists and winners of the National Poetry Series and the Pushcart Prize. They have been featured in The New Yorker, Time, and Newsweek as our brightest stars; they have been heard through National Public Radio, Rhino Records, and Oprah's Book Club. Previously unpublished works by Danzy Senna, Philippe Wamba, and Elizabeth Alexander run alongside contemporary classics. They are popular and prophetic, literary and experimental. Together with a useful bibliography of current writing and a discography of influential music from soul to jazz to hip-hop, Giant Steps celebrates the complexities of race while paying tribute to the personal and collective histories that are forging this new generation.

The writers found in Giant Steps are not "emerging" but have already arrived. From Best American Poetry and O. Henry Award winners to National Book Award finalists and Oprah's Book Club members, the thirty-five authors selected here are some of the best and the brightest writing today.

The book features the full diversity of the African American experience, discussing everything from slavery to sexuality, growing up poor, gay, biracial, or all three. There are stories about the American Revolution, slave insurrections, and the year 1979; there are poems about loss and Sam Cooke; essays about sharecropping and the New South. New and unpublished writing by Danzy Senna, Colson Whitehead, and Darieck Scott is collected alongside work by such favorites as Edwidge Danticat, Kevin Powell, Hilton Als, and Randall Keenan. The writers in Giant Steps are at the heart of what's happening in contemporary culture, and this anthology welcomes readers to the future and powerful present of African American writing.The writers found in Giant Steps are not "emerging" but have already arrived. From Best American Poetry and O. Henry Award winners to National Book Award finalists and Oprah's Book Club members, the thirty-five authors selected here are some of the best and the brightest writing today.

The book features the full diversity of the African American experience, discussing everything from slavery to sexuality, growing up poor, gay, biracial, or all three. There are stories about the American Revolution, slave insurrections, and the year 1979; there are poems about loss and Sam Cooke; essays about sharecropping and the New South. New and unpublished writing by Danzy Senna, Colson Whitehead, and Darieck Scott is collected alongside work by such favorites as Edwidge Danticat, Kevin Powell, Hilton Als, and Randall Keenan. The writers in Giant Steps are at the heart of what's happening in contemporary culture, and this anthology welcomes readers to the future and powerful present of African American writing.

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About the Author:

Kevin Young's first book, Most Way Home, was selected for the National Poetry Series by Lucille Clifton and won the Zacharis First Book Prize from Ploughshares. His subsequent poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Grand Street, Kenyon Review, Callaloo, and Code; his work has also been featured on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and in The Beacon Best of 1999. A former Stegner fellow in poetry at Stanford University, Young is currently an assistant professor of English and African American studies at the University of Georgia in Athens.

From Library Journal:

Young (Univ. of Georgia) has skillfully selected poetry, fiction, and essays by more than two dozen African American authors, all younger than 40. The collection features such well-known writers as Edwidge Danticat and Randall Keenan as well as lesser-known talents like Philippe Wamba, Terrence Hayes, and Jamaican Americans Allison Joseph and Claudia Rankine. In addition to their youth, the authors often share common themes, as pointed out by Young in his succinct introduction, such as an interest in music, pop culture, and race. Some of the most effective poems celebrate the courageous defiance of black icons, for example, Elizabeth Alexander's "Deadwood Dick," about the famous black cowboy Nat Love, and John Keene's "Jackie Robinson in Sportsmen's Park, 1949." This collection includes classics, such as an excerpt from Hilton Als's The Women, and previously unpublished pieces such as Danzy Senna's "The Land of Beulah." Recent collections of African American writers--such as Keith Gilyard's Spirit & Flame (Syracuse Univ., 1997) and Derrick Gilbert's Catch the Fire! (Berkeley Pub. Group, 1998)--focus on contemporary poets. Young's multigenre anthology is a significant contribution to the literature. Recommended for all public and academic libraries.
-Louis J. Parascandola, Long Island Univ., Brooklyn, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Young, Kevin
Published by Harper Perennial (2000)
ISBN 10: 0688168760 ISBN 13: 9780688168766
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