Drawing parallels between the summers of 2020 and 1964, the award-winning author, poet, and memoirist Smith brings together 40 incomparable voices to anthologize the Freedom Summer of 2020. Poignant and powerful, There's a Revolution Outside memorializes a cultural turning point and galvanizes the reader to keep fighting for justice after the summer ends. Recommended By Emily B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
This kaleidoscopic portrait of an unprecedented time brings together some of our most treasured writers today — Edwidge Danticat, Layli Long Soldier, Monica Youn, Julia Alvarez, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor — to give voice to the unthinkable grief and hopeful possibilities born in an era of revolution and change.
Now is an extraordinary time. Across the country, people are losing their loved ones, their livelihoods, their homes, and even their own lives to COVID-19. Despite the pandemic, countless protests erupted this summer over the recurring loss of Black lives. Reverberations of shock and outrage remain with us all. There's a Revolution Outside, My Love captures and articulates all of these roiling sentiments unleashed by a profound national reckoning.
Drawing its title from a powerful letter to her son by Kirsten West Savali, the book fans out from there, offering a rich and intimate view of the change we underwent. Composed of searing letters, essays, poems, reflections, and screeds, There's a Revolution Outside, My Love highlights the work of some of our most powerful and insightful writers who hail from across a range of backgrounds and from almost all fifty states. Among them, these writers have brought home four Pulitzers, two National Book Awards, a fistful of Whitings, and numerous citations in best American poetry, short story, and essay compilations. They are noisy with beauty, and their pieces ring louder and clearer than ever before.
Galvanizing and lyrical, this is a deeply profound anthology of writing filled with pain and beauty, warmth and intimacy. A remarkable feat of empathy, There's a Revolution Outside, My Love offers solace in a time of swirling protest, change, and violence — reminding us of the human scale of the upheaval, and providing hope for a kinder future.
"Angry, rueful, and defiant, the impressive roster of award-winning writers and academics portrays a nation wracked by pain.... An eloquent and urgent collection." Kirkus (Starred Review)
"Written from the inner chambers of the heart.... This book is a promise, a solace, a sounding of our cries for justice and need for love. It's nothing short of essential." Garnette Cadogan, Literary Hub
About the Author
Tracy K. Smith is the author of four books of poetry, including Life on Mars, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Such Color: New and Selected Poems will be published in October. She is also the editor of an anthology, American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, and cotranslator (with Changtai Bi) of My Name Will Grow Wide Like a Tree: Selected Poems by Yi Lei. Smith's memoir, Ordinary Light, was named a finalist for the National Book Award. From 2017 to 2019, Smith served two terms as the twenty-second Poet Laureate of the United States. She is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
John Freeman is the founder of Freeman's, the literary annual of new writing, and executive editor at Alfred A. Knopf. The author of five books, including The Park and Dictionary of the Undoing, he has edited several other anthologies including Tales of Two Americas, a book about inequality in America, and Tales of Two Planets, which examines the climate crisis globally. He teaches at NYU.