Synopses & Reviews
Since 1976 the Before Columbus Foundation has been devoted to the task of redefining our notion of mainstream American literature to reflect this country's multicultural, multiethnic, and multiracial diversity. Since 1980 it has sponsored the American Book Awards, which honor a wide spectrum of books that reflect this heritage. To recognize literary excellence in this way demands a panoramic perspective, without restrictions and without quotas. Open, inclusive, democratic, the American Book Awards celebrates the many tributaries that flow into, in Ishmael Reed's words, the ocean of American literature. includes over 150 selections from a decade of American Book Award-winning poetry. Authors represented include Ai, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Edward Dorn, Allen Ginsberg, Maurice Kenny, Etheridge Knight, Colleen J. McElroy, Charles Olson, Sonia Sanchez, Gary Snyder, Quincy Troupe, Terence Winch, and Elizabeth Woody. It will quickly be seen as a landmark, pioneering volume and literary event. Along with , which is being published simultaneously, it is the first book to reflect accurately the American literature of the present--and to prepare us for the American literature of the twenty-first century.
This landmark volume collects a decade's worth of work from the American Book Awards, and in the process redefines our sense of what constitutes the "mainstream" of American poetry. Includes the work of more than 50 poets on a wide range of themes, diction and geographical origins.
"This is a publication of major significance, particularly with the 500th anniversary of Columbus's voyage approaching. It makes a vital contribution to our understanding of what is happening in this society." --Professor Dennis Brutus, University of Pittsburgh
About the Author
The Before Columbus Foundation was founded in 1976 as a nonprofit educational and service organization dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of contemporary American multicultural literature.Ishmael Reed is the author of over twenty-five books--including Mumbo Jumbo, The Last Days of Louisiana Red, Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down and Juice!. He is also a publisher, television producer, songwriter, radio and television commentator, lecturer, and has long been devoted to exploring an alternative black aesthetic: the trickster tradition, or "Neo-Hoodooism" as he calls it. Founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, he taught at the University of California, Berkeley for over thirty years, retiring in 2005. In 2003, he received the coveted Otto Award for political theater.