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Affrilachia: Poems by Frank X Walker
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Affrilachia: Poems by Frank X Walker [Paperback]

Frank X Walker
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1, 2000
Now in its eighth printing, Frank X Walker's pathbreaking book of poems Affrilachia is a classic of Appalachian and African-American literature. Walker created the word "Affrilachia" to help make visible the experience of African-Americans living in the rural and Appalachian South. The book is widely used in classrooms and is one of the foundational works of the Affrilachian Poets, a community of writers offering fresh ways to think about diversity in the Appalachian region and beyond.

Editorial Reviews


"Finally, a gathering of words that fiercely speaks to what it truly means to grow up African-American in Appalachia. These are not stories of those of us transplanted conveniently into the territory for whatever reason. These poem-stories are from a native Affrilachian heart, more specifically, from the man who first created the word in order to define and not be rendered invisible. This personal poetic narrative is a historic valuable offering, one man's unapologetic truth, granting us an eagle eye view into what it means to be young, Black, artistic, and male in America as one century comes to an end and another begins. His poetry looks you in the eye, in plain-spoken unembellished, heartfelt language. Anyone who knows about the human heart and human nature can read it." --Nikky Finney, author of Head Off & Split (Triquarterly), winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry

"The poems in Affrilachia are funny and sad, tragic and hopeful, angry and determined, and as filled with generosity and love as poetry by any American writer in a generation. This book is powerful and beautiful. It is honest and true." --Gurney Norman, author of Ancient Creek: A Folktale, Kinfolks, and Divine Right's Trip

About the Author

Frank X Walker is a native of Danville, Kentucky. He is cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets, a group of African-American writers whose work addresses themes of race, family, place, social justice, and identity in the Appalachian South. He is Associate Professor of English and Director of the African American & Africana Studies Program at the University of Kentucky.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Old Cove Press; 1st Edition edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967542405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967542409
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #515,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent collection April 4, 2000
Frank X. Walker's fine poems are engaging and personal--they form a sort of memoir of the poet's life, one that tocuhes the reader's own memory and sense of self. We recognize moments of our own--personal moments, cultural moments, political moments, spiritual moments--and that recognition speaks to us of both the poet's power and the poem's. My favorite poem may be "Fireproof," about the aftermath of the burning of a black church building. I also appreciated "Hummingbird," about the death of a young man from AIDS. But it is difficult to pick out single poems for comment--though many are incredibly powerful individually, it is as a collection that the work finds a place within you and makes a home. This volume demonstrates Frank X. Walker is a voice that will be heard.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A reminder of the meaningfulness of the poet's soul November 20, 2000
I just recently saw the theatrical version of AFFRILACHIA on the campus of the University of Kentucky (which was truly something else), and had to have a copy of his book immediately afterwards. Having met and spoken to the author on several occasion, I knew his honesty and warmth would inevitably express itself in collection of his writings.
AFFRILACHIA is a love letter to the Black Kentuckian soul. And yet in it's regional specificity, rhythmic lyricism and illuminating of time, place, events and relationships (as well as their marriage to universal human truths and modern lies) it is a celebration of the African-American creative spirit transcendental as it continues to walk tall, shout hallelujah and dance throughout our country, and much of the world. Frank X. Walker achieves many sacred paradoxes with the honesty of his craft and style: the more universally he ruminates on the human condition and the grand themes of the late 20th Century African-American experience, the more he unveils the singularity of what it is to be a Black man from Kentucky. The more he speaks to the personal experiences of his heart and the individual things, people and ideas he truly loves (like, obviously, the prose poetic language itself), the more universal his poetry becomes, and the deeper it resonates in your heart.
Being a poet and musician myself born and raised in New York City, I came to his work mired in unconscious stereotype based purely on regional demographics. (The very prejudice a brother [or anyone] from the big city of big cities would be offended by if he witnessed its expression, experienced it by others, or if you brought it to his attention.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise for Affrilachia June 1, 2000
As you enter Frank X.Walker's collection of poetry know that you are entering a place of truth. Know that he is blazing a trail into Kentucky's literary history. Written by one of the state's own native sons, these words shed new light and breathe color. Affrilachia declares loudly and proudly that "some of the Bluegrass is Black." You will find on these pages indication of Frank's mastery of language and his ability and power to captivate you from a universal place, not just the Affrilachian experience. From this black man's eye we see Kentucky in all its beauty and its ugliness. We glimpse the Million Man March from the inside. We pay homage to African and Blackfoot Indian ancestry. We see Betty Shabazz's transition in death and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. resurrected as a rap artist. From his gut we feel divorce, a family member's drug addiction, religious differences, and the deaths of loved ones. We bear witness to a father's devotion to his children and share the ecstasy, trials and tribulations of love. Through Frank we begin to understand a "belly warm" bond with a best friend and the feelings generated from a callous stare and shouts of `selling out' from a stranger. Enter these poems with anticipated satisfaction. Know that by absorbing these words, by fingering these pages, you witness this Affrilachian Poet buffalo soldiering his way. Know that these are words of genuine truth that put Frank in his rightful place in a peacock chair alongside Kentucky's greats Gurney Norman, George C. Wolfe, James Still, William Wells Brown, bell hooks, Wendell Berry, Gayl Jones, Ed McClanahan, Effie Waller Smith and countless others.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Former Student Looks Back March 13, 2001
By A Customer
I had the priviledge to study with Frank X. Walker when I was a student at Ky Governor's School for the Arts. At the time, I knew nothing about black history--so shamefully little that I didn't even know what Malcolm X looked like. Frank introduced me to the richness of black culture and showed me what I was missing. He is a man of great power; that power forces bare words into tremendous fluidity of motion. His bare bones personality comes across in his writing and the heartfeltness behind his poetry, while expressing the emotions of an African American, transcends cultural barriers so that even I, the whitest white girl alive, can begin to understand.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Southern Poetic Voice like Pecan Pie January 5, 2001
These are the words of a Black Southern Poet. His words stick to the bones. My favorite pieces include Wishbone and Crooked Afro because of their concise language and focus on family. Walker's work is that of a poet in keen awareness of history, politics and African tradition.
I also love the honesty of Hummingbird and Taking the Stares. These two poems examine the state of our collective humanity. Affilacia is an autobiography, a claiming of space and identity and a lyric love story to family (African and Affrilachian).
The poems in Affrilachia are like the Southern pecan tree: enduring, real and tasty.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars moving collection of beautifully constructed poems
"Affrilachia" is a warm, moving collection of beautifully constructed poems. Frank X Walker is not only an excellent poet, he is also socially and politically engaging. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alexandra Helms
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Nice, personal type of poetry about pride in one's family and background.
Published 4 months ago by Melissa
1.0 out of 5 stars Forced to buy
Book I had to purchase for my daughter's liberal college education.....probably not a very good poet but he fits all the liberal ideals and not what makes a poet a great writer. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Powerful, and Lyrical Examination of Life
Affrilachia by Frank X. Walker feels universal and intimate all at once. Walker weaves humor and serious observation into his poems in a way that keeps the reader engaged and... Read more
Published 15 months ago by T. L. Cooper
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
exactly as posted
Published 19 months ago by Anissa
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
A book for my college student, not one I would purchase otherwise
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Affrilachia
Wonderful cultural poetry that speaks to my own roots. Highly recommended reading for lovers of poetry and multicultural exploration. Great!
Published on March 30, 2014 by Diane Grych
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of heart
Thought-provoking, touching and humorous at times. The verses flow yet impact, leaving the reader a mental "aah" or an "oh yeah" and even a couple "amens".
Published on June 5, 2013 by Lyn Ford
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Collection of Poems
I have had the privilege of working with Frank in the past, and this collection of poems represents a writer with immense discipline and command of verse. Read more
Published on December 31, 2004 by Jacque Zyon
5.0 out of 5 stars belly warm
if you can remember how that first taste of southern cooking sat in your belly warm with the love that prepared it. Read more
Published on April 21, 2003 by ricardo nazario-colon
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