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African American Writers: Portraits and Visions

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African American Writers: Portraits and Visions

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A spectacular collection of photographs that showcases the nation's abundant treasury of African American writers

Product Description

Ai   Will Alexander   Robert Allen   Maya Angelou   Amiri Baraka   Paul Beatty   David Bradley   Gwendolyn Brooks   Ed Bullins   Barbara Christian   Cheryl Clarke   Lucille Clifton   Wanda Coleman   Edwidge Danticat   Angela Davis   Toi Derricotte   Samuel R. Delany   Rita Dove   Frances Smith Foster   Ernest Gaines   Henry Louis Gates, Jr.   Nikki Giovanni   Jewelle Gomez   Rosa Guy   Forrest Hamer   Michael S. Harper   Essex Hemphill   Charles Johnson   June Jordan   Randall Kenan   Jamaica Kincaid   Yusef Komunyakaa   Audre Lorde   Nathaniel Mackey   Haki Madhubuti   Clarence Major   Paule Marshall   Colleen McElroy   Toni Morrison   Walter Mosley   Harryette Mullen   Albert Murray   Gloria Naylor   Barbara Neely   Pat Parker   Ishmael Reed   Faith Ringgold   Kalamu ya Salaam   Sonia Sanchez   Sapphire   Ntozake Shange   Quincy Troupe   Derek Walcott   Alice Walker   Afaa Michael Weaver   John Edgar Wideman   John A. Williams   Sherley Anne Williams   August Wilson   Al Young

Over a period of thirty years Lynda Koolish has been photographing African American authors in their homes, at public readings, in universities, and at conferences and festivals.

As this volume of her photographs presents the faces of acclaimed African American writers, it also highlights the diversity within African American literature and celebrates the many genres it explores. Koolish includes authors of diverse identities--Caribbean writers who have immigrated to the United States, writers of mixed heritage, writers who proudly proclaim their African roots, playwrights, poets, novelists, critics, scholars, short story writers, oral storytellers, and memoirists.

Koolish's photographs convey a sense of clarity, warmth, and beauty. Along with each portrait she provides a short biographical essay that comprises the artistic vision of the author. Her superb gallery of fifty-nine black-and-white photographs presents a grand assembly.

"We know these authors," Cynthia Tucker says. "We know their words. We can quote favorite passages from their essays, their poems, their novels. Yet we have rarely seen their faces. We have rarely seen them reading their works, talking to audiences, explaining their views. We know some important part of them but cannot attach to it a pair of eyes, a furrowed brow, a head full of dreadlocks. Now we can look at the eyes that see so much, that transform our understanding of the world. And we can look for, even if we cannot hope to find, the source of their genius."

This is the first book devoted exclusively to photographic portraits of African American writers since Carl Van Vechten's work featuring Harlem Renaissance writers in the 1920s and 1930s.

Chosen by the American Library Association as one of the top 35 books from university presses in 2001, African American Writers: Portraits and Visions impressed ALA reviewer Donna Seaman, who wrote: "Koolish's elegant black-and-white photographs of African American writers seem empathic, as though the camera channeled more than mere light and shadow to drink in the writers' thoughts and feelings, the hum of their minds and thrum of their bodies. Each studied yet dynamic portrait is accompanied by a brief essay in which Koolish, a professor of literature as well as a photographer, describes with precision and zest the timbre of the writers' voices, the spirit of their work, and the significance of their contribution to the canon... Koolish's absorbing portraits, most of recent vintage, some from the 1980s, document sixty writers essential to American letters and, in a very real sense, to a richly imagined life."

Lynda Koolish, a scholar of African American literature, is a Professor of English and comparative literature at San Diego State University. She is well known also as a professional photographer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Belles Lettres, Poetry Flash, and Modern Fiction Studies. Her photography has been featured in many exhibitions, including the 1994 juried show at the Cork Gallery in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and in Celebrating Women Writers, a calendar published by the New York Public Library in 1999. Cynthia Tucker is a syndicated columnist at the Atlanta Constitution and a regularly featured commentator on PBS's The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

132 pp., 60 b&w duotone photographs

Additional Information

condition new
ISBN 1578062586
author Lynda Koolish
Number of Pages 132 pp., 60 b&w duotone photographs
Publisher University of Mississippi Press
Cover Type Paperback
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