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Words to Our Now: Imagination and Dissent Hardcover – November 15, 2005

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

“As a black male who is also gay, I and my brothers and our black lesbian sisters are considered ‘disposables’ throughout the world, throughout time past and present, in our own black communities and in white ones. This is clearly the case in Jamaica and most other Caribbean nations, and it is certainly true in the supposedly more ‘progressive’ United States. What will the force of this virulent hatred mean for our futures, and who will decide once again which of us is disposable? And: will we stand together when the time comes for us to face that machine-gun fire? All of us? Beyond our prejudices?” 

In these lyrical and powerful essays, Thomas Glave draws on his experiences as a politically committed, gay Jamaican American to deliver a searing condemnation of the prejudices, hatreds, and inhumanities that persist in the United States and elsewhere as both official policy and social reality. Exposing the hypocrisies and contradictions of liberal multiculturalism, Glave offers instead a politics of heterogeneity in which difference informs the theory and practice of democracy. At the same time, he experiments with language and form, blurring the lines between fiction and nonfiction, to provide a compelling model of creative writing as a tool for social change and humanity. 

From the death of black gay poet Essex Hemphill to the revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib, Glave puts forth a deeply moral and ethical understanding of human rights to make vital connections across nations, races, genders, and sexualities. 

Thomas Glave is assistant professor of English at SUNY Binghamton. He is author of Whose Song? and Other Stories.

About the Author

THOMAS GLAVE is an O. Henry award-winning author and was named a Village Voice Writer on the Verge in 2001. He is the author of Whose Song? and Other Stories, Words to Our Now:Imagination and Dissent (winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Nonfiction), and editor of Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles. He is the 2008-2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (November 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816646791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816646791
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,150,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John on February 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Thomas Glave seems like a righteous guy, a gay Jamaican academic who was instrumental in setting up J-FLAG, the gay & lesbian Jamaican rights group; a thinking human being concerned with injustice based on skin-colour, gender and sexuality; and someone deeply reflective on the multivalent identities of the immigrant. So I was set up to like this book. But on the whole I didn't. It's a collection of essays, but some (like the one reflecting on the resurgence of gung-ho American patriotism following 9/11) are simply dated & should have been excluded. Others are cute but slight nostalgia pieces about Glave's childhood in the States, or romances about his Jamaican heritage. There are stream-of-narrative poetic reflections on obscure novels - & indeed stream-of-consciousness reflections on lots of things. These always feature comparisons to the sea, & go on for pages & pages without illuminating anything - except that Thomas Glave loves the sea & is a sensitive soul. I can read & enjoy quite difficult & demanding prose, but I found myself skimming paragraph after paragraph of this book to try to get to the point. The academic stuff's often not very academic - for instance the chapter about trying to imagine a black gay Monica Lewinski (a notion which apparently made his students' chins hit the floor) - and the personal stuff is buried under a slurry of lyricism. The most interesting parts of this book are those which are acute about the nuances of being a migrant with dual nationality - but to my mind even these tend to creak under the weight of poetical 'fine writing' larded on top of them. If you enjoy a consciousness displaying its own sensitivity in a poetical vein then perhaps you'll love this book. I'm afraid I just find it tiring.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is by far the hardest book I've had to read (next to Thereafter Johnnie...which i found due to this book). I started and stopped several times and eventually had to read it in "blocks" with chapters of other books interspersed between.

HOWEVER this is also one of the most rewarding books I have ever read. Glave has a unique style of prose that, while difficult, is beautiful and enriching in drawing you into his essays and works of fiction. It touches on so many topics important to the community from masculinity to homophobia to feminism and important works of literature.

I can't say it enought that this is a tough read. But if you can just stick with it it's so rewarding, elnlightening and rewarding that it sits on my shelf with Sun Tzu's THE ART OF WAR, Kahlil Gibran's THE PROPHET, and Red Pine's translation of THE HEART SUTRA
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WORDS TO OUR NOW is a stylistically innovative, powerfully written collection. Sometimes a writer's exploratory prose style marks his literary difference. Glave's prose has a recursive effect as if his language requires both writing and re-writing--incessant, jeweling, ornate construction--to be adequately heard.

To my ear, Glave's stylizations seem like explorations of expository "beauty". The essays seem to be asking how can the lyrical, iridescent syntax and diction counter and augment the often painful concepts of LGBT and black liberation that the essays take on?

Extreme rhetorical stylization like this is so different that the usual literary fare that some readers may give it pause. But the style does not diminish the substance of Glave's meaning or the excellence of many of these essays.
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Format: Paperback
Hi. I'm find this book hard to read. It seems to be going on and on, using out landish words and not getting to the point. But, i'm still reading so well see.
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