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Global Black Feminist Contenders: Fiction & Poetry

5 Books | by L. M. Odom

Books under consideration for public discussion by The Global Black Feminist Reading Circle on YouTube and Facebook.

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

Books

Before The Testaments, there was The Handmaid’s Tale: an instant classic and eerily prescient cultural phenomenon, from “the patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction” (New York Times).The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population. The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010

Books

Winner of the 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry"The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 may be the most important book of poetry to appear in years."--Publishers Weekly"All poetry readers will want to own this book; almost everything is in it."--Publishers Weekly"If you only read one poetry book in 2012, The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton ought to be it."—NPR"The 'Collected Clifton' is a gift, not just for her fans...but for all of us."--The Washington Post"The love readers feel for Lucille Clifton—both the woman and her poetry—is constant and deeply felt. The lines that surface most frequently in praise of her work and her person are moving declarations of racial pride, courage, steadfastness."—Toni Morrison, from the ForewordThe Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965–2010 combines all eleven of Lucille Clifton's published collections with more than fifty previously unpublished poems. The unpublished poems feature early poems from 1965–1969, a collection-in-progress titled the book of days (2008), and a poignant selection of final poems. An insightful foreword by Nobel Prize–winning author Toni Morrison and comprehensive afterword by noted poet Kevin Young frames Clifton's lifetime body of work, providing the definitive statement about this major America poet's career.On February 13, 2010, the poetry world lost one of its most distinguished members with the passing of Lucille Clifton. In the last year of her life, she was named the first African American woman to receive the $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize honoring a US poet whose "lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition," and was posthumously awarded the Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Society of America."mother-tongue: to man-kind" (from the unpublished the book of days):all that I am asking isthat you see me as somethingmore than a common occurrence,more than a woman in her ordinary skin.

Looking for Livingstone

Looking for Livingstone

Books

Now in its 7th printing: A woman, travelling alone through time, Africa, and unnamed lands, searches for Dr. David Livingstone, celebrated by the West as a "discoverer" of Africa. Looking for Livingstone explodes Western assumptions about the "silence" of indigenous peoples; this is an elegant work which beautifully gives voice to the ancestors to whom it is dedicated.

Directed by Desire

Directed by Desire

Books

“Directed by Desire . . . is a powerful addition to the entire canon of American poetry.”—Booklist Now in paperback, Directed by Desire is the definitive overview of June Jordan’s -poetry. Collecting the finest work from Jordan’s ten volumes, as well as dozens of “last poems” that were never published in Jordan’s lifetime, these more than six hundred pages overflow with intimate lyricism, elegance, fury, meditative solos, and dazzling vernacular riffs. As Adrienne Rich writes in her introduction, June Jordan “wanted her readers, listeners, students, to feel their own latent power—of the word, the deed, of their own beauty and intrinsic value.” From “These Poems”: These poems they are things that I do in the dark reaching for you whoever you are and are you ready? The cloth edition of Directed by Desire was selected as a Library Journal Poetry Book of the Year and received the Lambda Book Award for Lesbian Poetry. June Jordan taught at UC Berkeley for many years and founded Poetry for the People. Her twenty-eight books include poetry, essays, fiction, and children’s books. She was a regular columnist for The Progressive and a prolific writer whose articles appeared in The Village Voice, The New York Times, Ms. Magazine, and The Nation. After her death in 2002, a school in the San Francisco School District was renamed in her honor.

By the Light of My Father's Smile

By the Light of My Father's Smile

Books

A family from the United States goes to the remote Sierras in Mexico--Susannah, the writer-to-be; her sister, Magdalena; and their father and mother. There, amid an endangered band of mixed-race blacks and Indians called the Mundo, they begin an encounter that will change them more than they could ever dream. Moving back and forth in time, and among unforgettable characters and their magical stories, Walker brilliantly explores the ways in which a woman's denied sexuality leads to the loss of the much prized and necessary original self--and how she regains that self, even as her family's past of lies and love is transformed. . . .

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