From Totems to Hip Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas, 1900-2002


Celebrated novelist, poet, and MacArthur fellow Ishmael Reed pushes the boundaries once again in the publication of From Totems to Hip Hop—a truly all-inclusive multicultural anthology—a literary event which will finally even the playing field. This important collection synthesizes and presents broad swaths of work from poets of all races and backgrounds, as only Reed can, ranging from Gertrude Stein to Ai, from Bessie Smith to Askia Toure, from W. C. Handy to the little-known poetry of Ernest Hemingway. Through...
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Celebrated novelist, poet, and MacArthur fellow Ishmael Reed pushes the boundaries once again in the publication of From Totems to Hip Hop—a truly all-inclusive multicultural anthology—a literary event which will finally even the playing field. This important collection synthesizes and presents broad swaths of work from poets of all races and backgrounds, as only Reed can, ranging from Gertrude Stein to Ai, from Bessie Smith to Askia Toure, from W. C. Handy to the little-known poetry of Ernest Hemingway. Through his unique position in American letters, as writer, teacher, and even publisher, Reed has an unparalleled working knowledge of many of the more marginalized voices in American poetry. This collection will reflect that unique access by including acknowledged masters as well as lesser known talents in greater variety than any previous anthology. From Totems to Hip Hop will cover American poetry from its pre-Columbian origins to the hip hop lyricists of today and, with the guidance of Reed's thoughtful and provocative introduction and headnotes, trace the remarkably rich cross-pollination which has continually occurred across racial and cultural lines.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Multicultural Review, Winter 2009
“Has an excellent selection of poems in it, as well as another feature that makes it attractive to teachers”
Library Journal
In his informal introduction to this truly inclusive survey of American poetry, Reed explains that this anthology was the result of an "aborted textbook" project in which African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans were included only "as an afterthought." His response was this rich and representative sampling of the "multiuniverse of literature" as produced in America from 1900 to 2002. Reed's selections range from classic poems like Carl Sandburg's "Chicago" to contemporary texts like Tupac Shakur's "Why Must U Be Unfaithful (4 Women)." Along the way, readers will encounter familiar names like Marianne Moore, Claude McKay, Robert Frost, and T.S. Eliot but will also find less anthologized writers like Agha Shadid Ali, Bessie Smith, Speckled Red, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Haki Madhubuti, and the rock'n'roll composers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Reed conveniently arranges the poems by thematic categories (place, gender, family, politics, heroes, and a special section on literary and cultural manifestos) and concludes with practical and well-written notes on the contributors. The result is a significant publication that will create a new generation of readers as well as a much-needed cultural consensus. Highly recommended.-Daniel L. Guillory, Millikin Univ., Decatur, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560254584
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 12/5/2002
  • Pages: 523
  • Sales rank: 445,298
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.15 (h) x 1.49 (d)

Table of Contents

A Lost Memory of Delhi 5
Newark 7
Sun with Issues 8
Endangered Species 11
from Elemental Journey: Anniversary Gift, #4 and #5 16
Hides 20
San Jose: a poem 22
Three Snakes, Strawberry Canyon, Berkeley 24
Hurakan: A Two Way Poem 26
The Idea of Detroit 28
Earth Chorus 30
Shagoon 1-4 32
Animal Liberation 34
Oaktown CA 37
Chicago 39
Africa 40
The Steeple-Jack 41
#8 from The Past 43
At Yorktown 43
La Jolla. In 3 Acts 45
Earthquake Blues 47
Chicago 49
The Heavy Bear Who Goes with Me 51
Weather 52
Every Where and Every When 54
Cows and Alabama Folklore 57
Hurricane Doris 59
Love Poem to an Avocado from a Tomato 63
Los Angeles 64
Montana's Biggest Weekend 65
Pear's Complaint 67
Seeing Red 69
Black Mountain Blues 70
The Battle 75
Woman 76
The Brides Come to Yuba City 78
Something Nice 81
Untitled 82
from Lives in Dreadful Wanting 83
Love is Not a Word 84
The Purpose of Altar Boys 86
A Very Valentine 88
Ringless 88
The Widow's Lament in Springtime 91
Bad Girl Blues 93
Why Must U Be Unfaithful (4 Women) 95
Bells 99
A Place Without Shame 100
In the Waiting Room 102
Oh! Mercy Mercy Me! A Family Gathers to Marvin Gaye 106
Callaloo 110
Nani Worries About Her Father's Happiness in the Afterlife 115
One Man's Family 117
Good times 119
The Names 120
Grandmother Eliza 122
April Fool Birthday Poem for Grandpa 124
Aunt Helen 126
Bicentennial Anti-Poem for Italian-American Women 127
Dance of the Letters 129
Winnings 132
Joshua Clark 134
Aerogramme 1-5: Los Angeles 139
This Is the Poem I Never Meant to Write 150
Doll 152
Last Days of a Slow Cooker 154
My Shattered Sister 157
Hungry 160
Turkey People 163
Quill Holler Waller 164
The Truth the Dead Know 165
The Elders 166
Uncle Good Intentions 168
Easter: Wahiawa, 1959 171
Untitled 175
For My Sister 176
The Cloud Unfolding 178
The Fat of the Land 180
Six Families of Puerto Ricans 181
It's in the Blood 183
The Dirty Dozens 187
And in the U.S.A. 193
Integrating the Strawberry Swimming Pool in 1998 194
Killers 198
Poem for the Young White Man Who Asked Me How I, an Intelligent, Well-Read Person, Could Believe in the War between Races 198
Giles Johnson, Ph.D. 202
The Sony of the Smoke 202
Speak the Truth to the People 204
1933 206
Eli, Eli 209
A Semi-Revolution 211
Centennial year for the Spirits 211
That God Made 216
1990 217
Advertisement for the Waldorf-Astoria 223
The Potato Manifesto 228
Facing It 229
What Were They Like? 230
The Execution 232
Milla: Mi abuela, Puerto Rico 233
This Passover or the Next I Will Never Be in Jerusalem 235
from America in 1918 237
For the Angry White Student Who Wanted to Know If I Thought White People Ever Did Anything Good for 'the Indians' 240
Poem (I Lived in the First Century) 242
Between the World and Me 243
Coyote Makes the First People 249
Ogun's Friend 250
Song 1 from Three Songs From the 50's 254
Skin of Clouds 255
Helen 258
Tribute to Duke 259
Latin Music in New York 265
Joe Williams at the Blue Note/Chicago, 1955/March 30, 1999 268
Wolf Warrior 271
A Ballad of the Life and Times of Joe Louis: The Great Brown Bomber 274
Tiva's Tapestry: La Llorona 287
Filling the Gap 288
Skip The Byuppie 291
Crootey Songo 293
Sun Yat Sen Comes to Lodi 294
Trickster Rabbit 296
Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan 301
Viewing Mona Lisa 312
Six Movements for Portraits of Erzulie 313
Lady Lazarus 316
Disney's Cinderella 320
Madonna for the Damned-a 1980's Heroine 322
A Flower from Robert Kennedy's Grave 324
from The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You 328
Dawnsong! 334
A Poem for "Magic" 339
Fallen 341
Jerusalem Walked thru War 342
For Malcolm X 344
Searchin' 345
The Imagists' Manifesto (1915) 356
The Introduction to American Writers' Congress (1935) 357
Gwendolyn Brooks (1969) 368
An Introduction to Chinese- and Japanese-American Literature (1975) 371
Adieu a Charlot (Second Populist Manifesto) (1975-1978) 404
The Rise of the White Shamon as a New Version of Cultural Imperialism 410
from Pro Femina (1973) 424
The Introduction to Stealing the Language, the Emergence of Women's Poetry in America (1986) 427
The Cannon (1999) 436
Police State 454
Contributors 457
Acknowledgments 511
Permissions 513
About the editor 525
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  • Posted November 11, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book for Spoken Word Poetry

    This is one of the best books that I have found with a collection of poetry meant to be spoken aloud. Topics range from Italians to religion to music. Anyone with an interest in poetry will find this book to be fun and inviting example of collected spoken word works.

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