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Step into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471380603
ISBN-10: 0471380601
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Powell concedes the lack of a unifying theme in this eclectic collection of writing from 104 contemporary black writers, famous and obscure, aged 23 to 43, from 9 countries and 3 continents. The collection reflects the slickness of young black wordsmiths, race consciousness, and sensibilities about the artistry of communication via word. The different styles and media-- including a manifesto, a letter, and an e-mail--reflect the diversity of talent among the group of writers, generally lumped together under the heading of black writers. The collection includes Valerie Boyd in a tribute to Alice Walker, Lisa Jones on the magical cure for race relations represented by the self-described Cablinasian Tiger Woods, and Powell on the racial politics of death row. Some other writers represented are Debra Dickerson, Trey Ellis, Edwidge Danticat, Tananarive Due, and Jake Lamar. This book is arranged in six sections: essays, hip-hop journalism, criticism, fiction, poetry, and dialogue. Powell laments the "MTV-ization of The Word Movement" among the young hip-hop writers and rappers but celebrates the enduring artistry and worth of verbal communication among black writers. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From Kirkus Reviews

Poet and journalist Powell (Keepin 'It Real, 1997) is one of the most audible and outspoken advocates of the young black literary voice on the scene today. He has here assembled the essays, fiction, poetry, criticism, and journalism of more than 100 young writers. Although of predictably variable quality, most entries are engaging and provocative, with stand-out work by Malcolm Gladwell ("The Sports Taboo: Why Blacks are Like Boys and Whites are Like Girls"), Daphne Brooks (a critical piece on Oprah's book club), Erin Aubrey (a consideration of Ebonics), Scott Poulson-Bryant (an insightful article on Sean "Puffy" Combs), and the very beautiful and often disturbing fiction of such talents as Junot Diaz, Christopher John Farley, John Keene, Victor D. La Valle, Phylis Alesia Perry, and Bernardine Evaristo. Considering a wide range of subjects (including sexuality, violence, feminism, linguistics, politics, prostitution, music, love, media, and spirituality), these short works are linked only by the racial origins of their authors. Powell's decision to alphabetize entries within categories serves to reiterate this lack of overriding theme and to emphasize the infinite range and flexibility of this, the new world of black writers. A fascinating collection of work from established authors and bold new voices.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 29, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471380601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471380603
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,153,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Kevin Powell, along with an impressive cast of literary characters, hip-hop journalists and elegant poets/writers has done an impeccable job of organizing and editing some of the finest new black literature at the turn of this century. Almost all of the essays, poems and articles are engaging, insightful and provocative-including some of those re-worked from his days as a Vibe contributor. Hip-hop feminist and Essence editor Joan Morgan offers a much-needed and honest feminist analysis of her thoughts on the misogyny of hip-hop and how it has effected her life with her essay, "Hip-Hop Feminist" and dream hampton follows suit with her candid piece, "Confessions of a hip-hop critic." In the fiction section there is a painfully beautiful and hilarious story by Junot Diaz entitled, "The Sun, the Moon and the Stars" as well as a piercingly accurate piece on the state of black literature and the exploitation of shallow African-American characters in the world of white publishing by Debra Dickerson entitled, "She's Gotta Have it." Among the other strong points of the anthology are intensely beautiful poetry provided by the likes of Nuyorican poet Willie Perdomo, a wonderful letter by Sarah Jones of "Surface Transit" fame, and an wonderful excerpt from Veronica Chambers' "Mama's Girl." Overall, this anthology is, to date, the most defining collection of Generation X and Y, proclaiming (rightfully so) that "The Word Movement" an impressive, eloquent cast of insightful scribes is akin to the Harlem Renaissance of the 20's and 30's and the Black Arts Movement of the 70's.
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Format: Hardcover
I have followed Kevin Powell's career from the days on MTV's Real World to his stint as editor at VIBE magazine to his memoir "Keeping it Real". He has compiled here a magnificent volume of Gen X African American writers who are intelligent and thought provoking. Where do I start? Well for one I have to disagree with the previous reviewer about Powell's anger. I think the introduction was a prelude to the rest of the great writing. Angry? I think not. He's just keeping it real. That said, this book is not just Kevin Powell, though he does have a moving essay that I read a few years ago in VIBE- "Live From Death Row" which gives the background of the label of Tupac Shakur, among others. There is other hip-hop journalism from Joan Morgan and Farai Chideya, two of my favorites. Scott-Poulson-Bryant's view of Puff Daddy in "This is Not a Puff Piece" is illuminating. I was thrilled with the essay section. Prolific writers such as Veronica Chambers torn between family and integrity with "Mama's Girl", Lisa Jones exploring multiculturism with "Are We Tiger Woods yet?", and Lonnae O'Neal Parker's revealing portrait in "White Girl". The criticism section has Erin Aubrey examing Ebonics/Black English in "The Soul of Black Talk". Poetry by Ruth Forman and Lenard D. Moore, among many others; fiction by Junot Diaz, a humorous, touching story, "The Sun, the Moon, the Stars"; Edwidge Danticat, Tannarive Due. There is a Dialogue section as well. The list of talent is endless; Paul Beatty, Danzy senna, Danyel Smith. Valerie Boyd's "In Search of Alice Walker" tells about going to Ms. Walker's hometown and the legacy there of Uncle Remus. I get exhausted just trying to remember what I have read.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
(that's funny! "minus one star for kevin powell's introduction" ... you get 'a helpful' vote for that one!)

er'body else done said the good thangs...

so all i can do is stand here with my hands

in my pockets and look silly while grownfolks

is talkin...

ive had this book for a few years now and i still havent read

all of it (some of the journalistic essays just dont appeal to me)... but ive covered over 90 percent of it...

poetry is my dominatrix, so i'ma fool for the poems.

some excellentexcellent writing...

...thank god my sister has about a billion books, otherwise

she might have realized this was missing from her collection by now.
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Format: Hardcover
The rest was brilliant, most loved Junot Diaz, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars. The fiction, poetry, and essays in Step Into A World were intense, thought provoking, and at times humorous reads. Then I'd find myself turning back to Kevin Powell's introduction wondering why he was so angry. He'd accomplished his goal of putting together an anthology that would go against the grain of the mass marketed African American literature that has dominated the book shelves. I'm happy for him, so why couldn't Kevin be happy too. Two words, "Anger Management", get some. No one wants to hear all of the "fight the power" rhetoric in the year 2000. Peace out, and keep hope alive.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a teacher I like to introduce Black literature into my classes. I love Updike and Faulkner, but students need to see the diversity in storytelling that is out there,.
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