Sunday, May 02, 2010

Congrats to Wilson & Martin & Dowdy + Glissant Book Launches + Mille Grazie to Gukira

Congratulations to the one and only Ronaldo V. Wilson, who received the Publishing Triangle's Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry for his lightning bolt of a second collection, Poems of the Black Object (Futurepoem Books, 2009)! This is an extraordinarily important collection embodying what's most exciting these days in poetry. It's great to see it and Ronaldo, who also won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for his first book, so honored.

Congratulations also to Ronaldo's fellow Black Took Collective member Dawn Lundy Martin, whom I got to hang out with a little at AWP, for winning the Nightboat Books Poetry Prize, for her new collection, Discipline, which will be published in 2011. Fanny Howe was the judge. If you know Dawn's work, including her first book, which also received the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, you can be sure this new collection will leave you thinking about it every time you set it down. Props to a brilliant and blazing poet.

Congratulations to my cousin, Dawn Cecilia Dowdy, whose new Christian Romance three novels-in-one, Chesapeake Weddings (Barbour Books, 2010) is now available! I remember back when Dawn began actively seeking a publisher for her first novel, and her persistance, determination and vision have paid off; she's the author of 6 volumes, totally 10 or so works of long fiction, and her talent and prodigiousness never cease to impress me!

Also, congratulations on Nightboat Books' recent publication of Edouard Glissant's Poetic Intention, translated by Nathalie Stephens/Nathanaël. As part of the book's official launch, Glissant and Stephens participated in a public discussion with NYU Professor J. Michael Dash last week at the Maison Française. Glissant's Caribbean Discourse and The Poetics of Relation are seminal works, and Stephens is a superb translator, so I'm really looking forward, when I have a breather (months from now), to get a copy and dive in.

Lastly, I would like to thank Keguro Macharia, the dazzlingly sharp thinker and scholar whose blog, Gukira, is an indispensible read. He is one of those people for who loftiness, in the best sense, comes readily and compellingly, and I'm very glad that he continues to blog even as his career in academe takes off. Some years ago he wrote a short meditation on my first book, Annotations, that was so profound and lyrical it left me speechless.  I don't think that's up any longer, but I recently learned from Chris Stackhouse that last year, around this time, there appeared on Gukira a review of Seismosis. About it will say no more, since it speaks for itself, but I do want to thank Keguro from the bottom of my heart, not only for how positive it is, but for full of insight, really deep reading, and knowingness it is. Chris and I have been lucky to have received praise for various quarters for the work, and have also seen it taught in various places (and by people who aren't friends), but as with a good deal of the things I have done, it has also met with great bafflement, to put it mildly, and relative silence in terms of reviews (though we have also received some very good ones), particularly from fellow black and queer writers and thinkers. I will not go into the history of my discouragement about such things, but I do want to make it clear I am aware that there are numerous works out there, including works of this sort, and that scholars in particular have pressing concerns they must address, so for a young scholar to devote his critical eye and acumen to our work is a great honor, and I think it's fair to say on behalf of Chris, once again, thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, John, thanks for mentioning me! I didn't realize you had a blog! Also, congrats to the other scribes in your blog post! Looks like a great lineup of writers!