12 British Poets Share Their Favourite Poems For #NationalPoetryDay

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-10-08 18:49Z by Steven

12 British Poets Share Their Favourite Poems For #NationalPoetryDay


Fiona Rutherford, BuzzFeed News Reporter
London, England

3. Rachel Long

Amaal Said

Age: 26

Themes in your work: Sexuality, growing up, hurt, mixed parentage, love, eating disorders, death, dreams.

Favourite poem: Impossible to choose. I’ve sat here for a half hour with fingers over keys or in my hair. I can’t call it between: “In The Book of The Disappearing Book” by John Gallaher, “The Ugly Daughter” by Warsan Shire, “Snow” by David Berman, “Sex Without Love” by Sharon Olds, and “Of August” by Karen McCarthy Woolf.

What comes to mind when you think of the word “light”? Marlboro, that sunrise, a macro photograph of oestrogen taken by science photographer Lennart Nilsson that looks like a firework. It was stunning to see, and to know that we have this exploding, all the time, on the inside of our bodies…

5. Hannah Lowe

Tim Ridley

Age: 39

Themes in your work: Working-class lives, multiculturalism, London, migration, diaspora.

Favourite poem: “The Mercy” by Philip Levine – one of many favourites.

What comes to mind when you think of the word “light”? Funnily enough, electric lights come to mind rather than daylight. I’m thinking of the way we light the night. It must be living in London… street lights, neon signs, security lights. From my back window I look out over Wood Green and Tottenham, all the way to Walthamstow, and there’s a real clatter of light out there, from houses and flats, office blocks, sometimes a star or two…

Read the entire article here.

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Nigger Heaven

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2012-09-30 21:34Z by Steven

Nigger Heaven

University of Illinois Press
2000 (Originally published in 1926)
336 pages
5.5 x 8.25 in.
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-06860-7

Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964)

Introduction by:

Kathleen Pfeiffer, Professor of English
Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan

Foreward by:

Philip Levine

A controversial but appealing, amusing, and vivacious celebration of Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s

No other contemporary novel received the volume and intensity of criticism and curiosity that greeted Nigger Heaven upon its publication in 1926. Carl Van Vechten’s novel generated a storm of controversy because of its scandalous title and fed an insatiable hunger on the part of the reading public for material relating to the black culture of Harlem’s jazz clubs, cabarets, and social events.

“The book and not the title is the thing,” James Weldon Johnson insisted with regard to Nigger Heaven, and the book is indeed a nuanced and vibrant portrait of “the great black walled city” of Harlem. Opening on a scene of tawdry sensationalism, Nigger Heaven shifts decisively to a world of black middle-class respectability, defined by intellectual values, professional ambition, and an acute consciousness of class and racial identity.

Here is a Harlem where upper-class elites discuss art in well-appointed drawing rooms; rowdy and lascivious drunks spend long nights in jazz clubs and speakeasies; and politically conscious young intellectuals drink coffee and debate “the race problem” in walk-up apartments. At the center of the story, two young people—a quiet, serious librarian and a volatile aspiring writer—struggle to love each other as their dreams are slowly suffocated by racism.

This reissue is based on the seventh printing, which included poetry composed by Langston Hughes especially for the book. Kathleen Pfeiffer’s astute introduction investigates the controversy surrounding the shocking title and shows how the novel functioned in its time as a site to contest racial violence. She also signals questions of racial authenticity and racial identity raised by a novel about black culture written by a white admirer of that culture.

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