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Shout Out to Abayomi Animashaun April 28, 2010: The growing body of critically-acclaimed Nigerian authors on the American bookshelves (think Chris Abani, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Uwem Akpan) have given incredible insights into the history and politics of the most populated country in Africa. A new voice has joined that distinguished company with the publication of Abayomi Animashaun’s [...] by

Shout Out to J. Michael Martínez April 28, 2010: Some trivia: In 1981, Alberto Ríos won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. This first-book prize was established in 1975 and has launched the careers of many notable writers, though not until 2009 (twenty-eight years after Ríos) has this award been won, for the second time, by a Latino writer. But the release of [...] by

Shout Out to Nicole Cooley April 25, 2010: Will it be five years already? And yet the wounds of Hurricane Katrina have not healed completely. The ruins are still visible and people remain displaced, grim reminders of a natural phenomenon that demonstrated how even the most powerful nation in the world can be made vulnerable by the unpredictable forces of the weather. And those who felt [...] by

Margaret Walker (1915-1998) April 22, 2010: A retraction (with thanks to fellow Harriet blogger and colleague on the board of the National Book Critics Circle, Stephen Burt for pointing this out). I stand corrected regarding an earlier comment I made that no white male judge had ever selected a manuscript for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. In 1942, Stephen Vincent [...] by

Inspired Choice! April 21, 2010: Though the change has already been made on his Wikipedia Page (okay...), it was news to me when I received the press release this afternoon from Yale University Press that Carl Phillips has been named as new judge for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He’ll be the first non-white judge of a series that began in 1919. I guess they didn’t [...] by

Shout Out to Ken Chen April 21, 2010: Selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets, Ken Chen’s debut, Juvenilia, engages the notion of artistic expression as process of maturation: the speaker reaches to the memory of his youth (the past) to construct a portrait of what colors his adult world view (the present). There are many questions in the now about love and relationships, [...] by

Shout Out to Allison Joseph April 19, 2010: Published by Steel Toe Books, My Father’s Kites is Allison Joseph’s seventh collection. The title and haunting image on the cover telegraph the rite of passage (the death of a parent) that informs these poems, but readers will be surprised by the honest and complex portrait of a man now deceased that has inspired this book-length elegy: [...] by

Shout Out to Neil de la Flor April 19, 2010: Winner of the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize, Almost Dorothy is a queer debut, to say the least. Like Dorothy in the land of Oz, the figure who inhabits much of this book is dreaming up a world of metaphors and signifiers: “You inflate the balloon (home) with helium (memories) until the outer surface becomes exquisitely [...] by

The Shout-Outs Cometh April 15, 2010: It’s the middle of Poetry Month, so I think we’re obligated to send some love to the poets and their books. This was always one of my favorite posts when I did Harriet back in the day: it’s not exactly like getting singled out from the general audience on The Price is Right, but hey, people of the profession with few monetary rewards are [...] by

Empty Theaters Not Yet Swept April 13, 2010: I remember running into a review copy of Robin Robertson’s Mortification: Writers’ Stories of their Public Shame a few years back and R.O.F.L.M.A.O. It was a hilarious read--poets and writers with very recognizable names told their ultimate tales of woe: no one showed up to the reading, co-readers over-read or had considerably longer lines [...] by