1619 Project

Top 10 1619 Project : Heavy: An American Memoir, Electric Arches, Homegoing, Men We Reaped, Salvage the Bones, Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems, Dien Cai Dau, Talking Dirty to the Gods, Magic City, Pleasure Dome

Heavy: An American Memoir
AuthorKiese Laymon
In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse.

Kiese Laymon is a fearless writer. In...
Electric Arches
AuthorEve L. Ewing
Blending stark realism with the surreal and fantastic, Eve L. Ewing's narrative takes us from the streets of 1990s Chicago to an unspecified future, deftly navigating the boundaries of space, time, and reality. Ewing imagines familiar figures in magical circumstances, and identifies everyday...
AuthorYaa Gyasi
A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families...
Men We Reaped
AuthorJesmyn Ward
'...And then we heard the rain falling, and that was the drops of blood falling; and when we came to get the crops, it was dead men that we reaped.' Harriet Tubman

In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five men in her life, to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in...
AuthorJesmyn Ward
Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn't show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers...
AuthorYusef Komunyakaa
Poetry "reconnects us to the act of dreaming ourselves into existence," Komunyakaa once wrote. Once you pause a minute to consider the pain that has served as an outline in this poet's life, and when you also consider the highfalutin awards and professorial prestige given to a man whom people still seem...
AuthorYusef Komunyakaa
Most days, I sit in a Center for Writing, reviewing papers for college students, and clarifying the proper formatting and style required by the Modern Language Association (MLA), as relates to scholastic writing. As I notice varying writing styles, I suggest books for students to read, based on their...
AuthorYusef Komunyakaa
A daredevil poetic achievement nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award

. . . A god isn't worth
A drop of water in the hell of his good

Imagination, if we can't curse
Sunsets & threaten to forsake him
In his storehouse of belladonna,
Tiger hornets,...
AuthorYusef Komunyakaa
Komunyakaa vividly evokes his childhood in Bogalusa, Louisiana, once a center of Klan activity, and later a focus of Civil Rights efforts. He portrays a child's dawning awareness of the natural and social order around him, rhythms of life in the community, the constant struggle for survival in the...
AuthorYusef Komunyakaa
Best known for Neon Vernacular, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1994, and for Dien Cai Dau, a collection of poems chronicling his experiences as a journalist in Vietnam, Yusef Komunyakaa has become one of America's most compelling poets. Pleasure Dome gathers the poems in these two distinguished...
AuthorYusef Komunyakaa
A new and intimate collection from one of America's most important poets

The latest collection from one of our preeminent poets, The Chameleon Couch is also one of Yusef Komunyakaa's most personal to date. As in his breakthrough work, Copacetic, Komunyakaa writes again of music as muse--from...
AuthorYusef Komunyakaa
This powerful new collection of Yusef Komunyakaa's poetry delves into an age of war and conflict, both global and internal, racial and sexual. "Sweetheart, was I talking war in my sleep / again?" he asks, and the question is hardly moot: "Sometimes I hold you like Achilles' / shield," and indeed all relationships,...
AuthorYusef Komunyakaa
The wildly enchanting new collection from the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa

"If I am not Ulysses, I am / his dear, ruthless half-brother." So announces Yusef Komunyakaa early in his lush new collection, The Emperor of Water Clocks. But Ulysses (or his half brother) is but one...
AuthorTyehimba Jess
“It is exhilarating to be invited into a world so large and muscular, so rooted in history, a world where so much is at stake.”—Brigit Pegeen Kelly, National Poetry Series judge

A biography in poems, leadbelly examines the life and times of the legendary blues musician from a variety...
Olio Live
AuthorTyehimba Jess
The word "olio" means a hodgepodge, or a miscellaneous collection of literary or musical selections. In Olio Live - a very special one-night performance recorded live at the Minetta Lane Theater in February 2019 - poet Tyehimba Jess introduces listeners to his 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning collection...
Brown Girl Dreaming
AuthorJacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and...
Another Brooklyn
AuthorJacqueline Woodson
Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they...
Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago's South Side
AuthorEve L. Ewing
“Failing schools. Underprivileged schools. Just plain bad schools.”
That’s how Eve L. Ewing opens Ghosts in the Schoolyard: describing Chicago Public Schools from the outside. The way politicians and pundits and parents of kids who attend other schools talk about them, with a...
AuthorEve L. Ewing
Poetic reflections on race, class, violence, segregation, and the hidden histories that shape our divided urban landscapes.

The Chicago Race Riot of 1919, the most intense of the riots that comprised the “Red Summer” of violence across the nation’s cities, is an event that has shaped...
AuthorLynn Nottage
Winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

“A powerhouse drama. . . . Lynn Nottage’s beautiful, hideous and unpretentiously important play [is] a shattering, intimate journey into faraway news reports.”—Linda Winer, Newsday

“An intense and gripping new drama . . ....
AuthorKiese Laymon
Kiese Laymon’s debut novel is a Twain-esque exploration of celebrity, authorship, violence, religion, and coming of age in Post-Katrina Mississippi, written in a voice that’s alternately funny, lacerating, and wise. The book contains two interwoven stories. In the first, it’s 2013: after...
The Sobbing School
AuthorJoshua Bennett
Selected by Eugene Gloria as a winner of the National Poetry Series  
The Sobbing School, Joshua Bennett’s mesmerizing debut collection of poetry, presents songs for the living and the dead that destabilize and de-familiarize representations of black history and contemporary...
AuthorRita Dove
No one can help him anymore.
Not the young thing next door
in the red pedal pushers,
not the canary he drove distracted

with his mandolin. There’ll be
no more trees to wake him in moonlight,
nor a single dry spring morning
when the fish are lonely for company.

AuthorRita Dove
Here in one volume is a selection of the extraordinary poems of Rita Dove, who, as the nation's Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995, brought poetry into the lives of millions of people.  Along with a new introduction and poem, Selected Poems comprises Dove's collections The Yellow House on the Corner,...
AuthorRita Dove
Just pulled this collection off my shelves and dove into it, and by the third poem or so wondered what took me so long to find it and actually read it.

The poems in this volume are tough but delicate. Dove's use of imagery and voice are stunning; I'm drawn into the ways in which Dove weaves her personal...
AuthorRita Dove
Poet Rita Dove was named Poet Laureate of the United States in 1993 at the age of 40. Much of her work is about the African-American experience, although many of her poems also show her love of music, history, and creativity. A group of poems about a working class family going through difficult times begins...
AuthorRita Dove
An occasion to celebrate: a new collection by the Pulitzer Prize-winning former poet laureate; her first since On the Bus with Rosa Parks. With the grace of an Astaire, Rita Dove's magnificent poems pay homage to our kaleidoscopic cultural heritage; from the glorious shimmer of an operatic soprano...
Bastards of the Reagan Era
AuthorReginald Dwayne Betts
Up there with the best books of poetry I've read in the last decade. Betts has developed a powerful voice that combines a certain sort of street realism with a touch for images that move beneath the surface to unlock invisible energies. As the title suggests, this volume is concerned primarily with what...
AuthorCamille T. Dungy
Black Nature is the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets, a genre that until now has not commonly been counted as one in which African American poets have participated.Black poets have a long tradition of incorporating treatments of the natural world into their work,...
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
AuthorMatthew Desmond
In Evicted, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century...
White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism
AuthorKevin M. Kruse
During the civil rights era, Atlanta thought of itself as "The City Too Busy to Hate," a rare place in the South where the races lived and thrived together. Over the course of the 1960s and 1970s, however, so many whites fled the city for the suburbs that Atlanta earned a new nickname: "The City Too Busy Moving...
One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America
AuthorKevin M. Kruse
The provocative and authoritative history of the origins of Christian America in the New Deal era

We’re often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the belief that America is fundamentally...
Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974
AuthorKevin M. Kruse
Two award-winning historians explore the origins of a divided America.

If you were asked when America became polarized, your answer would likely depend on your age: you might say during Barack Obama’s presidency, or with the post-9/11 war on terror, or the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s,...
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