Brenda Marie Osbey History and Other Poems

ISBN 13: 9781568091792

History and Other Poems

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Poetry. African American Studies. HISTORY AND OTHER POEMS takes as its task nothing less than an examination and mapping of the never-ending evil of history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the still-palpable effects of European and American colonialism some seven centuries after the making of the New World. Making, breaking and rebuilding language and languages to suit the needs of her characters and the worlds they struggle to survive in and against, Brenda Marie Osbey has created a compelling study of human will and the determination to wrest life and liberty from destinies long ago written out of history as we know it. Aided by an extensive glossary and notes, this volume takes the reader on a series of gruesome journeys across the Americas, from Columbus's first encounter with the Guanahani Indians to the author's native New Orleans, trailing violence, destruction and oppression with every step, marking the geography of evil on the map of this New World. HISTORY AND OTHER POEMS moves from present to past and back again to reveal the trauma of hearts and lives broken even as it underscores the heroic endurance, resilience and agency of the enslaved and their descendants.

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About the Author:

Brenda Marie Osbey, a New Orleans native, is an author of poetry and prose nonfiction in English and French. Her previous volumes include All Saints: New and Selected Poems, which received the 1998 American Book Award. In 2005- 2007, she served as the first peer-selected poet laureate of Louisiana. Studies of her work appear in such critical texts as Southscapes: Geographies of Race, Region and Literature by Thadious M. Davis (University of North Carolina Press, 2011); Forms of Expansion: Recent Long Poems by Women by Lynn Keller (University of Chicago Press, 1997); The Future of Southern Letters, edited by Jefferson Humphries and John Lowe (Oxford, 1996); and such reference works as Contemporary Authors; The Oxford Companion to African American Literature (1997); The Dictionary of Literary Biography (Oxford, 1997); and Dictionnaire des Créatrices (Éditions des Femmes, 2011).

Her essays have been published in The American Voice, Georgia Review, BrightLeaf, Southern Literary Journal and Creative Nonfiction. She has been a resident fellow of the MacDowell Colony, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Millay Colony, the Camargo Foundation and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University. She has received fellowships and awards also from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation among others. She is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.

Review:

Brenda Marie Osbey's new poetic sequence deepens the historical record of the Atlantic world with poetic truth; her probing metaphors are never less than figures of thought representing the archetypal drama of the period that still shapes the power relations of our own. "History" is a major production . . . remarkably successful in providing us with what academic scholarship typically neglects or finds so hard to capture, namely felt history. . . . Osbey's poem is a brilliant exercise in cultural archaeology -- reminiscent of Robert Hayden's groundbreaking poem "Middle Passage." No detail . . . is without significance. --William Boelhower, literary editor of Atlantic Studies and editor of New Orleans in the Atlantic World

"History is your own heartbeat." So wrote Michael Harper. Few poets have attended to America's beating, bleeding heart as closely and as tenderly as Brenda Marie Osbey. In these poems, as in her past work, she traces the mortal marks our past has left on our city streets, in the rhythms of our feet. If history has been a coffle, it is also our freedom train. --Aldon Nielsen, author, Black Chant: Languages of African American Postmodernism and Mantic Semantic, Kelley Professor of American Literature, Pennsylvania State University

Memory, culture, and language are the compelling cornerstones of History and Other Poems. In this magnificent evocative of the long ago past, Brenda Marie Osbey brings her amazingly accurate voice and probing vision to bear on an historical archive of the Americas from fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries and expresses her powerful twenty-first century reflections on the origins and imposition of the Atlantic slave trade. Exploits and exploitations mingle in the voyages of European explorers, merchants, and slavers and in the words of lost captives, dreamers, and workers in sugar, rice, indigo, or cotton. No pandering to stereotypes and no longing for idealizations here; Osbey reaches deep into her own brilliant imagination and into cultural memory to expose to new life a necessary but often buried history. --Thadious M. Davis, author of Southscapes: Geographies of Race, Region, and Literature

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Brenda Marie Osbey
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ISBN 10: 1568091796 ISBN 13: 9781568091792
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