Crystal Williams Kin

ISBN 13: 9780870135484

Kin

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9780870135484: Kin
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In her first book-length collection of poetry, Crystal Williams utilizes memory and music as she lyrically weaves her way through American culture, pointing to the ways in which alienation, loss, and sensed "otherness" are corollaries of recent phenomena. Williams writes about being adopted by an interracial couple, a jazz pianist/Ford Foundry worker and a school psychologist, and how that has affected her development as an African American woman. She tries to work out the answers to many difficult questions: in what way do African American artists define themselves? What do they owe the culture and what does it owe them? To what extent does our combined national memory inform our individual selves? These poems are steeped in the black literary tradition. They are brimming over with the oral tradition that Williams perfected while spending years on the poetry "slam" circuit. This, combined with her musical upbringing, give the collection not only a sense of urgency, but also a rhythm, a breath all its own. Kin tackles not only racial issues, but also the troubling realities of violent acts that can occur, especially in our inner cities. But more importantly, the landscape that Williams creates offers readers an alternative to the racial/political dichotomy in which we all live. Overall, the book resonates with a message of reconciliation that will leave the reader uplifted.

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About the Author:

Crystal Williams is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and author of Kin and Lunatic. Her poetry appears in magazines such as Luna, Fourth River, Callaloo, The Indiana Review, and in the anthologies: American Poetry: The Next Generation, Poetry Nation, Sweet Jesus, and Beyond the Frontier, among others. Her essays can be found in publications including Ms. Magazine. She has been a featured reader at venues across the country including: The National Arts Club, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Sarah Lawrence College. 

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

For The Woman Who Didn't Know My Name

In some old men there is a softness
in voice a hint of dusty Alabama
summers of boyhood & the swagger
of their walk whispers of past
glories when their hips carried more
than bone & their torsos fattened ribs
& their feet them as small boys in play
around the spot in town where men once herded
my people. There were those games too.

In old men there are wrinkles perfectly placed where drops
of food & spittle settle. And they'll whisper of spat
tobacco of dogs of whips in tongues to their sons & girl
children & they to their sons & girl children.

The Famous Door

Be-Bop, De-Bop, Be-Bop
smooooooooth like sass
n jazz n momma-n-mary
at the bar n you singing Route 66'.

You, on the sneak, askin'
momma on a date n the cops followin
momma-n-mary home cause white
girls didn't hang out in (black) jazz bars
in 1966. Hell, proper white
girls probably didn't hang t'all.

N you at the ivory-n-ebony
crooning I Left My Heart...' to momma,
winkin n smilin n jazzin n profilin
n sangin n sangin
n sangin n soundin
sweeeeeeeeeeeeeee t.

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Book Description Michigan State University Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. In her first book-length collection of poetry, Crystal Williams utilizes memory and music as she lyrically weaves her way through American culture, pointing to the ways in which alienation, loss, and sensed otherness are corollaries of recent phenomena. Williams writes about being adopted by an interracial couple, a jazz pianist/Ford Foundry worker and a school psychologist, and how that has affected her development as an African American woman. She tries to work out the answers to many difficult questions: in what way do African American artists define themselves? What do they owe the culture and what does it owe them? To what extent does our combined national memory inform our individual selves? These poems are steeped in the black literary tradition. They are brimming over with the oral tradition that Williams perfected while spending years on the poetry slam circuit. This, combined with her musical upbringing, give the collection not only a sense of urgency, but also a rhythm, a breath all its own. Kin tackles not only racial issues, but also the troubling realities of violent acts that can occur, especially in our inner cities. But more importantly, the landscape that Williams creates offers readers an alternative to the racial/political dichotomy in which we all live. Overall, the book resonates with a message of reconciliation that will leave the reader uplifted. Seller Inventory # BTE9780870135484

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