The Beacon Best of 1999: Creative Writing by Women and Men of All Colors by Ntozake Shange, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Beacon Best of 1999: Creative Writing by Women and Men of All Colors

The Beacon Best of 1999: Creative Writing by Women and Men of All Colors

by Ntozake Shange
     
 

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The Beacon Best of 1999 is what I would like to remember as the year 2000 approaches, sketches of what we hold sacred and keep for those to come. . . . These stories, poems, and essays pay homage to what's become of us, to what we bring to the next millennium-the sweet rememberings of the imagined." -Ntozake Shange, from the Introduction

Continuing a

Overview

The Beacon Best of 1999 is what I would like to remember as the year 2000 approaches, sketches of what we hold sacred and keep for those to come. . . . These stories, poems, and essays pay homage to what's become of us, to what we bring to the next millennium-the sweet rememberings of the imagined." -Ntozake Shange, from the Introduction

Continuing a commitment to presenting experiences drawn from lives lived outside the lines, Beacon Press presents The Beacon Best of 1999, a dazzling collection that includes the work of Dorothy Allison, Junot Díaz, Rita Dove, Louise Erdrich, Martín Espada, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Ha Jin, Jamaica Kincaid, Barbara Kingsolver, Yusef Komunyakaa, Hanif Kureishi, Marjorie Sandor, and John Edgar Wideman, as well as rising stars like Touré and Reetika Vazirani. Acclaimed playwright, poet, and novelist Ntozake Shange has chosen a treasury of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction published over the past year. In The Beacon Best of 1999, women and men writing with fine grace ask us to look at the whole picture, from the street to the second story-to see, perhaps for the first time, the life of boxer Jack Johnson, or the fierceness of a love transformed into rage for a child killed by gang violence, or the complexities of a love affair in New Delhi, as lenses through which to consider questions of courage, brotherhood, and beauty. The alternative literary annual, The Beacon Best of 1999 will introduce you to a world where tradition and convention are overturned and the unexpected is a welcome guest.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ushering the work of women and men of color from the literary underground into the company of more established writers, this welcome anthology, edited by noted poet and playwright Shange, showcases standout short fiction, poetry and nonfiction from the past year. The range of nonfiction is impressive in both content and execution: Barbara Kingsolver dissects the spontaneous creation of poetry from image, emotion and miracles in "How Poems Happen," while Dorothy Allison takes a revealing look back at her childhood and John Edgar Wideman examines the meaning of brotherhood--racial, familial and otherwise--in "What's a Brother?" Although the quality of the poetry varies, there is much to enjoy, including Rita Dove's finely distilled portrait of Rosa Parks, Denise Levertov's gentle tribute to "A New Flower," Yusef Komunyakaa's soulful ode to the "Venus of Willendorf" and Danielle Legros Georges's humorous celebration "How to Kiss." The fiction selections consistently offer surprises. Among the best of them are Nadine Kijner's tender yet grotesque "Water," Toure's raucous "The Sad Story of Sugar Lips Shinehot and the Portable Promised Land," Brenda Miller's meditation on loneliness in "The Date" and Hanif Kureishi's wise examination of a restless husband with gypsy feet in "Intimacy." As editor, Shange has been careful not to surrender to ideology or dogma in her selection of material for this expansive collection, which deserves pride of place on the crowded shelf of literary anthologies. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
This literary annual of poetry, non-fiction, and fiction is designed as a "companion volume" to the "Best American" series and the "Pushcart" prizes. The Beacon Best, however, is meant to be more inclusive, as evidenced by its subtitle. Guest editor Shange writes frequently in her own work about passion, so it is no surprise that the more powerful pieces here, particularly the fiction, contain characters with deep (and often unfulfilled) desires. These include Brenda Miller's "The Date," about a woman agonizing over the dreaded third date; Hanif Kureishi's "Intimacy," concerning a man leaving his partner and their children; and especially Junot D az's gripping story "The Sun, the Moon, the Stars," about a cheating man who meets his comeuppance. These works and others, including Tour 's Hurstonesque "The Sad Sweet Story of Sugar Lips Shinehot and the Portable Promised Land," get this series off to a promising start. For all public libraries.--Louis J. Parascandola, Long Island Univ., Brooklyn, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A literary buffet with treats so exquisitely sculpted that Martha Stewart would grimace with envy. Eclecticism is the key word to describe Shange's (If I Can Cook/You Know You Can, 1998, etc.) editorial selections, yet her eye for variety never overlooks the art of good writing. The short stories include real and timely treasures, such as Gish Jen's "Who's Irish?," which probes the fault lines between Chinese- and Irish-American families, and Junot Diaz's "The Sun, the Moon, the Stars," which presents a protagonist looking for love and empathy who comes up empty. The poems of the collection capture lucent insights into the human condition, brief musings on the questions involved in being human. Stand-outs among them are Marilene Phipps's "pink," which roars for identity in the narrator's struggle to hold onto one item—a pink T-shirt—that defines her, and Denise Levertov's "A New Flower," which finds hope and regeneration in a wilting sunflower. Essays by such writers as Brenda Miller ("The Date"), Laura Wexler ("Waiting for Amelia"), and Neil Davidson ("Goodbye, Johnnie Walker") round out the collection with their respective musings on courtship, role models, and life as a recovering alcoholic at the Betty Ford Clinic. Side by side with luminaries (including Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Jamaica Kincaid, Dorothy Allison, Barbara Kingsolver, and Rita Dove) are new and exciting artists whose fame awaits them. The only portion to be skipped is Shange's regrettable introduction, which piles on platitudes about the ancient human urge to depict. The blend of the familiar with the novel is one among many reason Shange's collection remains so compelling to the very end.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807062210
Publisher:
Beacon
Publication date:
10/25/1999
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.87(d)

Meet the Author

Ntozake Shange is author of many acclaimed works, including the innovative choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, If I Can Cook/You Know God Can, Lilliane, Betsey Brown, and Sassafras, Cypress, and Indigo and teaches at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

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