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WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD A stunning poetry debut: this meditation on the black female figure throughout time introduces us to a brave and penetrating new voice. Robin Coste Lewis’s electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems considering the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self. The central panel is the title poem, “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” a riveting narrative made up entirely of titles of artworks from ancient times to the present—titles that feature or in some way comment on the black female figure in Western art. Bracketed by Lewis’s autobiographical poems, “Voyage” is a tender and shocking study of the fragmentary mysteries of stereotype, as it juxtaposes our names for things with what we actually see and know. Offering a new understanding of biography and the self, this collection questions just where, historically, do ideas about the black female figure truly begin—five hundred years ago, five thousand, or even longer? And what role has art played in this ancient, often heinous story? From the “Young Black Female Carrying / a Perfume Vase” to a “Little Brown Girl / Girl Standing in a Tree / First Day of Voluntary / School Integration,” this poet adores her culture and the beauty to be found within it. Yet she is also a cultural critic alert to the nuances of race and desire and how they define us all, including herself, as she explores her own sometimes painful history. Lewis’s book is a thrilling aesthetic anthem to the complexity of race—a full embrace of its pleasure and horror, in equal parts. From the Hardcover edition.
This is the first book to collect the most important works of poetry generated by English and North American slavery. Mixing poetry by the major Anglo-American Romantic poets (Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Whittier, Longfellow, Lowell, Whitman, Melville, Dickinson) with curious, and sometimes brilliant verse by a range of now forgotten literary figures, the anthology is designed to aid students and teachers address the Anglo-American cultural inheritance of slavery.
“The ultimate literary bucket list.” —The Washington Post “If there’s a heaven just for readers, this is it.” —O, The Oprah Magazine Celebrate the pleasure of reading and the thrill of discovering new titles in an extraordinary book that’s as compulsively readable, entertaining, surprising, and enlightening as the 1,000-plus titles it recommends. Covering fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die ranges across cultures and through time to offer an eclectic collection of works that each deserve to come with the recommendation, You have to read this. But it’s not a proscriptive list of the “great works”—rather, it’s a celebration of the glorious mosaic that is our literary heritage. Flip it open to any page and be transfixed by a fresh take on a very favorite book. Or come across a title you always meant to read and never got around to. Or, like browsing in the best kind of bookshop, stumble on a completely unknown author and work, and feel that tingle of discovery. There are classics, of course, and unexpected treasures, too. Lists to help pick and choose, like Offbeat Escapes, or A Long Climb, but What a View. And its alphabetical arrangement by author assures that surprises await on almost every turn of the page, with Cormac McCarthy and The Road next to Robert McCloskey and Make Way for Ducklings, Alice Walker next to Izaac Walton. There are nuts and bolts, too—best editions to read, other books by the author, “if you like this, you’ll like that” recommendations , and an interesting endnote of adaptations where appropriate. Add it all up, and in fact there are more than six thousand titles by nearly four thousand authors mentioned—a life-changing list for a lifetime of reading. “948 pages later, you still want more!” —THE WASHINGTON POST
The Oxford Companion to Black British History is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the long and fascinating history of black people in the British Isles, from African auxiliaries stationed on Hadrian's Wall in the 2nd century AD, through John Edmonstone, who taught taxidermy to Charles Darwin, Mary Seacole, the 'Black Florence Nightingale', and Walter Tull, footballer and First World War officer, to the 'Windrush Generation' and our own day. Extended entries for key concepts, such as Emancipation and Reparations. It is a timely book: the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority highlighted in their annual report of December 2005 the need to give more attention to the wider teaching of black history. OCBBH brings together a unique collection of articles which provides an overview of the black presence in Britain, and the rich and diverse contribution made to British society.

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