Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Books of Interest by Writers of Color—Part 2

This is another in my series of posts on books of interest by writers of color. I am making my way through a long list of great writers. (Please forgive the HTML junk, but I don't know how to get rid of it since I don't know why it suddenly started showing up. If I try to delete it, it takes out half of my post.)

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

Diane Glancy, Stories of the Driven World (Mammoth Publications) Glancy’s latest work of poetry brings her list of works on Amazon to three pages, and I think some are actually missing from that. She writes poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, novels, plays, and screenplays, and she’s won major awards in all those genres. Glancy has published so many books, had so many plays produced, and won so many awards that she hardly needs any attempt from me to bring her more attention—except for the fact, that many people outside the world of writers of color are not familiar with her name or her work. This always astonishes me. She’s a writer of rare abilities and excels in pulling the reader into her world that has one foot in today, one foot in the past before Europeans imposed their culture on those they found when they arrived on this continent (Glancy is Cherokee/Irish), and a third foot, for she does not believe in dichotomies, in the spirit world, which, for Glancy, includes both the spirits of her Native ancestors and Jesus with whom she has a close relationship. My favorite of her novels is Pushing the Bear, A Novel of the 1838-39 Cherokee Trail of Tears, truly a poet’s novel, my favorite of her books of short fiction is Firesticks, my favorite of her books of poetry is Lone Dog’s Winter Count, and my favorite of her essays is Claiming Breath. But the truth is you can pick up just about anything by her and lose yourself in it. Her latest move is into the field of filmmaking. A Renaissance Indigenous woman.

Here is a link to the website of her latest book’s publisher. Here’s a link to her Amazon page. Glancy has been published by many small and university presses, as well as some of the big guys in NYC. I encourage you to use it to learn about her books, then go to the publisher’s website to buy it. As always, I believe we need to support the small and university presses since they are the ones who publish most writers of color.

Carlos Cúmpian, 14 Abriles: Poems (March Abrazo Press) This chapbook is Cúmpian’s latest offering in a long career as writer, editor, and activist. Cúmpian has been publishing Latino and Native American writers for over thirty years as editor of March Abrazo Press in Chicago. A poet of protest with a distinctive, fiery style, a great sense of humor, and a strong, entertaining style at readings, he should be better known than he is. My favorite of his books is Armadillo Charm. Any of his books, though, will send you looking for others.

Here’s a link to the March Abrazo Press website. Check out all the great writers they’ve published through the years.

Here’s a link to Tia Chucha Press for Armadillo Charm, and here's a link to Woodland Pattern, a wonderful bookstore that specializes in small press books. You can order his chapbook from them.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

Ching-In Chen, The Heart’s Traffic: a novel in poems (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press) This first book by a young writer who is a member of both the Kundiman and Macondo writing communities is a fierce, sensual work that can also bring tears to your eyes. It tells the story of and immigrant girl coming to grips with her sexuality and the long-lasting results of her best friend’s death at a young age. Chen uses a variety of forms—narrative, epistolary, even riddles—to tell this story in poetry, but she writes with great control and at the same time without holding back. She is a writer of great promise.

Here’s a link to Arktoi Books.

So, what are you waiting for? Go buy one or more of these books and settle in for a truly rewarding read. I know, I know, books are so expensive. I want to paraphrase a Dutch wise man and tell you, “If you have enough for two loaves of bread, instead buy one loaf and a book.” Especially if you are a struggling writer, buy books. You can learn from them. They will comfort you. And you’ll be supporting the industry and the small presses that make publication of writers of color (of most writers, actually) possible.

More fine writers to come. See you next time.