The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South

The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South

by Nikky Finney
     
 

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The South: to render all that it means to an African American takes someone with acutely tuned senses, someone with a patience, a passion even, for the region's history and contradictions. It takes a poet. In this new anthology, the first of its kind, more than one hundred contemporary Black poets laugh at and cry about, pray for and curse, flee and return to the

Overview

The South: to render all that it means to an African American takes someone with acutely tuned senses, someone with a patience, a passion even, for the region's history and contradictions. It takes a poet. In this new anthology, the first of its kind, more than one hundred contemporary Black poets laugh at and cry about, pray for and curse, flee and return to the South.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Ringing Ear reminds us that sometimes regionalism does not mean provincialism or myopia, but instead offers an opportunity for people to find their true songs and sing them with the assurance and power of knowing. There is something strikingly expansive about the range and complexity of the poems collected in this anthology. This is a distinctly southern book, a distinctly black book, a distinctly American book—it is all these things and more."--Kwame Dawes, author of Wisteria: Twilight Poems from the Swamp Country

"The Ringing Ear brings together a wonderfully diverse group of African American poets under the aegis of the now widely known Cave Canem workshops, which have enabled dialogue and opened doors for hundreds of Black poets in the last decade. In this anthology, extraordinary emerging poets join honored ones like Yusef Komunyakaa, Sonia Sanchez, Harryette Mullen, Cornelius Eady, and those whose names—Thomas Sayers Ellis, Natasha Trethewey, Kevin Young—are becoming indelible. Their focus is the "magnetic South," vexed and compelling as it is in the Black American imagination. Narrative, lyric, surreal, or hyper-real, using meter, multiple voices, verbal deconstruction, informed by jazz, blues, cutting-edge pop, string quartets, and schoolyard rhymes, by history learned in books and told in kitchens, this book pieces a mosaic of American life and of the poem's possibilities."--Marilyn Hacker, author of Desesperanto: Poems 1999-2002

"There is little question Cave Canem is transforming contemporary American poetry . . . Finney's care and sophistication give shape to this wonderful showcase of new talent . . . The Ringing Ear negotiates traditional southern themes such as food, religion, land, labor, and family, and challenges the reader to question how issues of love and sexuality complicate assumptions about race and the South . . . What is most striking about The Ringing Ear is the degree of intimacy in each poem . . . This is a wonderful resource for teaching the craft of poetry and an exciting example of contemporary Southern literature. With The Ringing Ear, Nikky Finney introduces herself as a talented editor, and Cave Canem solidifies its position as a powerhouse in American poetry."--American Book Review

"By writing about a region with its rich history and racial contradictions, these poets advance the impact of their poetry beyond historical and cultural boundaries. This is a timely, vital collection that insists the uses of poetry must be redefined and examined through the work of some of our best poets."--Bloomsbury Review

"This poetry anthology is riveting, perfectly imagined for classroom use as well as for readers who want to stay in touch with the work of young writers. Even better than individual poems—and they are very good indeed—are the ingenious, even brilliant conversations among them that editor Nikky Finney arranges. Everywhere the poems reinforce, argue with, amplify, challenge, and deepen each other. This kind of subtext editing is a gift. We need this book."--Hilda Raz, Prairie Schooner

"Offers a consistently strong showcase of Black voices and a compelling and accessible organization, and should persist as an important articulation of the Black experience of the American South . . . wondrous diversity of form subject, of perspective . . . the genius of the book and of Cave Canem's importance is obvious . . . The Ringing Ear is such an heirloom—Cave Canem's gift from the chorus of voices pushing the boundaries and barriers to the diverse and expanding tradition of American poetry."--Rain Taxi

"The Ringing Ear is an intergenerational sampling that is arranged thematically. The effect is that of eavesdropping on a thoughtful, candid, provocative conversation among the poets in each section."--San Antonio Current

"There are tons of literary anthologies inspired in one way or another by the Southern states. But to say that an anthology of poems about the South by African American writers is overdue would be an understatement. . . . The Ringing Ear . . . redresses the imbalance, collecting poems by Sonia Sanchez, Cornelius Eady, Nikki Giovanni, Nathaniel Mackey, and more."--Guardian

author of Wisteria: Twilight Poems from the Swamp Country - Kwame Dawes

The Ringing Ear reminds us that sometimes regionalism does not mean provincialism or myopia, but instead offers an opportunity for people to find their true songs and sing them with the assurance and power of knowing. There is something strikingly expansive about the range and complexity of the poems collected in this anthology. This is a distinctly southern book, a distinctly black book, a distinctly American book—it is all these things and more.

author of Desesperanto: Poems 1999&ndash2002 - Marilyn Hacker

The Ringing Ear brings together a wonderfully diverse group of African American poets under the aegis of the now widely known Cave Canem workshops, which have enabled dialogue and opened doors for hundreds of Black poets in the last decade. In this anthology, extraordinary emerging poets join honored ones like Yusef Komunyakaa, Sonia Sanchez, Harryette Mullen, Cornelius Eady, and those whose names—Thomas Sayers Ellis, Natasha Trethewey, Kevin Young—are becoming indelible. Their focus is the "magnetic South," vexed and compelling as it is in the Black American imagination. Narrative, lyric, surreal, or hyper-real, using meter, multiple voices, verbal deconstruction, informed by jazz, blues, cutting-edge pop, string quartets, and schoolyard rhymes, by history learned in books and told in kitchens, this book pieces a mosaic of American life and of the poem's possibilities.

American Book Review

There is little question Cave Canem is transforming contemporary American poetry . . . Finney's care and sophistication give shape to this wonderful showcase of new talent . . . The Ringing Ear negotiates traditional southern themes such as food, religion, land, labor, and family, and challenges the reader to question how issues of love and sexuality complicate assumptions about race and the South . . . What is most striking about The Ringing Ear is the degree of intimacy in each poem . . . This is a wonderful resource for teaching the craft of poetry and an exciting example of contemporary Southern literature. With The Ringing Ear, Nikky Finney introduces herself as a talented editor, and Cave Canem solidifies its position as a powerhouse in American poetry.

Bloomsbury Review

By writing about a region with its rich history and racial contradictions, these poets advance the impact of their poetry beyond historical and cultural boundaries. This is a timely, vital collection that insists the uses of poetry must be redefined and examined through the work of some of our best poets.

Prairie Schooner - Hilda Raz

This poetry anthology is riveting, perfectly imagined for classroom use as well as for readers who want to stay in touch with the work of young writers. Even better than individual poems—and they are very good indeed—are the ingenious, even brilliant conversations among them that editor Nikky Finney arranges. Everywhere the poems reinforce, argue with, amplify, challenge, and deepen each other. This kind of subtext editing is a gift. We need this book.

Guardian

There are tons of literary anthologies inspired in one way or another by the Southern states. But to say that an anthology of poems about the South by African American writers is overdue would be an understatement. . . . The Ringing Ear . . . redresses the imbalance, collecting poems by Sonia Sanchez, Cornelius Eady, Nikki Giovanni, Nathaniel Mackey, and more.

Rain Taxi

Offers a consistently strong showcase of Black voices and a compelling and accessible organization, and should persist as an important articulation of the Black experience of the American South . . . wondrous diversity of form subject, of perspective . . . the genius of the book and of Cave Canem's importance is obvious . . . The Ringing Ear is such an heirloom—Cave Canem's gift from the chorus of voices pushing the boundaries and barriers to the diverse and expanding tradition of American poetry.

San Antonio Current

The Ringing Ear is an intergenerational sampling that is arranged thematically. The effect is that of eavesdropping on a thoughtful, candid, provocative conversation among the poets in each section.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820329260
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Publication date:
03/25/2007
Series:
The Cave Canem Poetry Prize Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.91(d)

Meet the Author

Natasha Trethewey is the Poet Laureate of the United States, 2012–2013. She is the author of three collections of poetry: Domestic Work, Bellocq’s Ophelia, and Native Guard, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She also holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University.

Sean Hill’s awards include fellowships from Cave Canem, the MacDowell Colony, the University of Wisconsin, and a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. His poems have appeared in Callaloo, Ploughshares, DIAGRAM, Tin House, and numerous journals, and in several anthologies including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. He lives in Bemidji, Minnesota. More information can be found at www.seanhillpoetry.com.

Nikky Finney is a professor of creative writing at the University of Kentucky and the author of three collections of poetry: On Wings Made of Gauze; Rice, which won a PEN America Open Book Award; and The World Is Round. She is also the author of Heartwood, a collection of short stories.

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