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What I Say, What I Say, 0817358005, 0-8173-5800-5, 978-0-8173-5800-6, 9780817358006, , Modern and Contemporary Poetics, What I Say, 0817388001, 0-8173-8800-1, 978-0-8173-8800-3, 9780817388003, , Modern and Contemporary Poetic

What I Say
Innovative Poetry by Black Writers in America
Edited by Aldon Lynn Nielsen, Lauri Ramey

Quality Paper
2015. 344 pp.
Price:  $39.95 s
E Book
2015. 344 pp.
Price:  $39.95 d

What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Writers in America is the second book in a landmark two-volume anthology that explodes narrow definitions of African American poetry by examining experimental poems often excluded from previous scholarship. The first volume, Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone, covers the period from the end of World War II to the mid-1970s. In What I Say, editors Aldon Lynn Nielsen and Lauri Ramey have assembled a comprehensive and dynamic collection that brings this pivotal work up to the present day.
The elder poets in this collection, such as Nathaniel Mackey, C. S. Giscombe, Will Alexander, and Ron Allen, came of age during and were powerfully influenced by the Black Arts Movement, and What I Say grounds the collection in its black modernist roots. In tracing the fascinating and unexpected paths of experimentation these poets explored, however, Nielsen and Ramey reveal the tight delineations of African American poetry that omitted noncanonical forms. This invigorating panoply of work, when restored, brings into focus the creatively elastic frontiers and multifaceted expressions of contemporary black poetry.
Several of the poets discussed in What I Say forged relationships with members of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry movement and participated in the broader community of innovative poetry that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s and continues to exert a powerful influence today.
Each volume can stand on its own, and reading them in tandem will provide a clear vision of how innovative African American poetries have evolved across the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. What I Say is infinitely teachable, compelling, and rewarding. It will appeal to a broad readership of poets, poetics teachers, poetics scholars, students of African American literature in nonnarrative forms, Afro-futurism, and what lies between the modern and the contemporary in global and localized writing practices.

Aldon Lynn Nielsen is the author of Black Chant: Languages of African-American Postmodernism and Integral Music: Languages of African-American Innovation. Lauri Ramey is the author of Slave Songs and the Birth of African American Poetry and The Heritage Series of Black Poetry, 1962–1975. Nielsen and Ramey also coedited Every Goodbye Ain't Gone: An Anthology of Innovative Poetry by African Americans.

"What I Say makes a crucial contribution to contemporary poetry and poetics by emphasizing the wide range of forms and content present in innovative black poetries."
Journal of Modern Literature

"Emerging at a moment when conceptual and avant-garde poetries are being pilloried for their 'delusions of whiteness,' and when writers of color who use conceptual techniques are being called out for not toeing the party line arbitrarily drawn by an anonymous coalition, this collection of avant-garde, experimental, innovative, and conceptual poetry by black writers in America does much more that present black poetry outside the conventional bounds of 'personal narrative' and 'MFA program verse'. It complicates our conception and pluralizes our history of the avant-garde itself by demystifying its white mythology."
Journal of Modern Literature

“[What I Say] has an extraordinary range of important voices working within a variety of forms and intentions that include hybrid, prose poem, eco-poetics, sound poem, visual poem, investigative poem, polemical poem and presents writers often excluded from previous attention and scholarship. We are in a difficult and generative time of actualizing what a more human America needs to fight, articulate, and stand up for. The poetry in this anthology seems to light a way, a path toward the imperatives we face as we give greater value to social justice, truth, beauty, and the intrinsic power of a conscious language as a means for greater awareness, a panoramic vision of a multi verse of poetries. … I know I will learn something from this book, and also delight in its beauties.”
—Anne Waldman, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and author of more than forty books of poetry, including Voice's Daughter of a Heart Yet To Be Born and Gossamurmur

"This anthology offers a uniquely valuable range of poems by contemporary writers that is as necessary and expansive as air while as imaginatively fluid as the equally essential property of water. What I Say deserves a prominent place on the shelves of readers, writers, and scholars interested in the literary and aesthetic future of black American poetics. Yet, since it is such a compelling read, it won’t stay on those shelves!"
—Meta DuEwa Jones, author of The Muse is Music: Jazz Poetry from the Harlem Renaissance to the Spoken Word

What I Say makes an original and important contribution to the fields of American and African American arts and letters and to the more general field of poetry and poetics.”
—Nathaniel Mackey, author of Discrepant Engagement: Dissonance, Cross-Culturality, and Experimental Writing

Also of Interest

Integral Music
by Aldon Lynn Nielsen

Every Goodbye Ain't Gone
Edited by Aldon Lynn Nielsen and Lauri Ramey

Twilight of a Golden Age
Weinberger, Leon J.

Thirteen Loops
B. J. Hollars