Two books that explore the depths of black life
The intricate complexity of the Black experience permeates America’s cultural and historical strata. From the earliest days of this nation’s founding, Black Americans have striven with grace, vision, and talent to tell their stories in such a pervasively vulnerable way that the tradition of Black literature has survived and evolved with the birth of each new generation.
The tradition of documenting the reality of black life through prose, poetry, essays, and scholarly books stands firm in this postmodern era. Here are two books that offer myriad perspectives from Black creative voices.
Lunar Phoenix: An Anthology of Black Voices (Quail Bell Press)
Lunar Phoenix is an upcoming collection of short stories, poems and essays by a number of incredible black authors. One of the 34 contributors to the book, Jordan A. McCray, describes Lunar Phoenix as a collection that “creates a channel for black writers to define their experiences as, ‘I traverse every single space in this world, I.’ know I am equally important in all.”
Due for release in September 2022, this book offers readers the opportunity to connect with imaginative, intelligent writers who share their extraordinary gifts. “Steven Van Patten’s dystopian tale illustrates the gripping mission of a teenager who completes his pizza delivery route in a white neighborhood and faces discrimination, hatred and racial profiling from the moment he steps through the gates, and Anita Shaw’s maternal poem reveals hers Fears and dreams for her son, whom she must painfully remind of prejudice for his own safety in a world that denigrates her community.”
It is vital that the Black community supports such anthologies to preserve the literary expression of our artists.
Black Ages: Oceanic Lifespans and the Black Life Period by Habiba Ibrahim (NYU Press)
Black Age is a poignant book that journeys through the lifespan of the black body since the advent of transatlantic slavery. The book “tracks the struggle between the abuses of black people’s exclusion from Western humanism and the reclaiming of non-normative black life, arguing that some of us are brave because we dare to live lives that seem incomprehensible within a Schemas of ‘human time.’”
We as a culture struggle to find a healthy space to understand our relationships in time. The daily struggle to survive in an aggressive cultural landscape robs us of ample and even minimal freedom to truly self-examine our place in the world, and our environment really affects us at the macro and micro levels.
“Habiba Ibrahim focuses on black literary culture of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and examines how the history of transatlantic slavery and the constitution of modern blackness were reimagined through the embodiment of old age.”
Black lives not only matter, they are the fabric of American culture. Our stories must become the center of America’s historical lexicon if we are to enjoy a future of free thought and security. These books look inward, offering depth and progression to black American existence.
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