I Know What the Red Clay Looks Like: The Voice and Vision of Black American Women Writers

I Know What the Red Clay Looks Like: The Voice and Vision of Black American Women Writers

by Rebecca Carroll
     
 

In I Know What the Red Clay Looks Like, Rebecca Carroll skillfully interviews fifteen black women writers. Carroll includes both major, established writers such as Gloria Naylor, Rita Dove, and Nikki Giovanni, and newer, emerging writers like Tina McElroy Ansa and Lorene Cary. With eloquence, candor, and a strong sense of sisterhood, these women tell their stories.…  See more details below

Overview

In I Know What the Red Clay Looks Like, Rebecca Carroll skillfully interviews fifteen black women writers. Carroll includes both major, established writers such as Gloria Naylor, Rita Dove, and Nikki Giovanni, and newer, emerging writers like Tina McElroy Ansa and Lorene Cary. With eloquence, candor, and a strong sense of sisterhood, these women tell their stories. Each interview is accompanied by an excerpt from the author's work, introducing readers to the variety and richness of their work.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Unlike other recent collections of work by African American women, Carroll sets her anthology apart by putting excerpts by June Jordan, Gloria Naylor, Lorene Cary and others into context with short biographies and interviews that asks why they write, what they write, who they write for and who were their major influences. Unfortunately, the questions tend to elicit very similar answers from each author save Rita Dove, who discusses her feelings about being Poet Laureate. Most others say they have loved writing and reading since they were very young, they tend to write autobiographically-even when writing fiction-and most were influenced by the likes of Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison. More interesting are the intimate discussion of the excerpt included: Nikki Giovanni explains how early on she wanted to write for people who didn't have a voice, which lends some insight into her poem about the strength and continuity of African women, ``Ego Tripping'' from The Women and the Men. J. California Cooper describes her decision to portray the destructiveness of drugs using a female character in ``Vanity'' from The Matter Is Life. ``It wasn't so much hard for me to write as it was hard for me to read. Consequently, I haven't read it but once.'' (Nov.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
In this collection, writer and free-lance editor Carroll conducts interviews with eight of the most famous African American women writers (e.g., Rita Dove, Gloria Naylor, Nikki Giovanni) as well as seven lesser-knowns (Lorene Cary, Barbara Neely, Davida Adedjouma), who praise the noted black women writers preceding them. They speak of how these forerunners have influenced their own writings and given them voices. For example, Pearl Cleage (Deals with the Devil, LJ 7/93) pays homage to Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God), to whom Cleage feels connected for inspiring her. Following each conversation, the reader is treated to an excerpt from a selected work from the author. On the flip side, due out in February from the same publisher is a companion volume to this work entitled Swing Low: Black Men Writing, in which men get a chance to talk about their individual experiences and influences. Recommended for literary collections.-Ann Burns "Library Journal"
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YAThe 15 African American women writers interviewed here proclaim their artistic sisterhood, a force that is as disparate as their approaches to their work, excerpts of which accompany the interviews. Representing both established and ascending voices, this volume resounds with ``the ties that bind.'' Newcomers Davida Adedjouma, Tina McElroy Ansa, and Gloria-Wade Gayles salute their famous sisters for paving the way and providing them with courageToni Morrison, Zora Neal Hurston, and Rita Dove. Reflecting on their craft, several writers attribute their ideas to the rich oral tradition of the black women in their childhoods, storytellers on the front porches who spun the threads of magic from everyday lives. A rich resource of ideas that will be of particular interest to serious YA female writers.Margaret Nolan, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Donna Seaman
The strongest impression to emerge from Carroll's stimulating collection of interviews with 15 African American women writers is that they belong to a sisterhood. As each writer describes why and how she writes, each sings the praises of the black women writers who inspired her--from Zora Neale Hurston to Ida B. Wells, Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Toni Morrison. And we know that, 10 years from now, a new group of black women writers will write about these women--Gloria Naylor, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, J. California Cooper, Tina McElroy Ansa, Lorene Cary, and Marita Golden, to name just a few--and how they influenced and encouraged them. Pearl Cleage is quite frank about this, saying that she writes with black women in mind, and that her "main concern" is to "truthfully convey what it is like to be a black woman here in America." This focus and passion empower the fiction, autobiographies, and essays excerpted here as accompaniment to the interviews, but not to the exclusion of any reader. Indeed, the integrity, passion, courage, wisdom, and creativity inherent in the work of these writers are compelling and relevant to everyone.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780517596388
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/01/1994
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.61(w) x 8.33(h) x 1.00(d)

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