HOOK: A MEMOIR is a gripping story of transformation. Without excuse or indulgence, author and educator Randall Horton explores his downward spiral from unassuming Howard University undergraduate to homeless drug addict, international cocaine smuggler, and incarcerated felon—before showing us the redemptive role that writing and literature played in helping him reclaim his life. The multilayered narrative bridges past and present through both the vivid portrayal of Horton's singular experiences and his correspondence in letters with the anonymous Lxxxx, a Latina woman awaiting trial. HOOK explores race and social construction in America, the forgotten lives within the prison industrial complex, and the resilience of the human spirit.
Pitch Dark Anarchy investigates the danger of one single narrative with multilayered poems that challenge concepts of beauty and image, race and identity, as well as the construction of skin color. Through African American memory and moments in literature, the poems seek to disrupt and dismantle foundations that create erasures and echoes of the unremembered. Pitch Dark Anarchy uses the slave revolt of the Amistad as a starting point, a metaphor for "opposition" and "against." These themes run through the very core for the book while drawing on inventive and playful language. The poems bring to life human experiences and conditions created by an "elite" society. In these poems, locations and landscapes are always shifting, proving that our shared experiences can be interchangeable. At the very core of Pitch Dark Anarchy is a seven-part poem based on the artist Margret Bowland’s Another Thorny Crown Series, which are paintings of an African American girl in white face.
This book examines the development of literary constructions of Irish-American identity from the mid-nineteenth century arrival of the Famine generation through the Great Depression. It goes beyond an analysis of negative Irish stereotypes and shows how Irish characters became the site of intense cultural debate regarding American identity, with some writers imagining Irishness to be the antithesis of Americanness, but others suggesting Irishness to be a path to Americanization. This study emphasizes the importance of considering how a sense of Irishness was imagined by both Irish-American writers conscious of the process of self-definition as well as non-Irish writers responsive to shifting cultural concerns regarding ethnic others. It analyzes specific iconic Irish-American characters including Mark Twain’s Huck Finn and Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara, as well as lesser-known Irish monsters who lurked in the American imagination such as T.S. Eliot’s Sweeney and Frank Norris’ McTeague. As Dowd argues, in contemporary American society, Irishness has been largely absorbed into a homogeneous white culture, and as a result, it has become a largely invisible ethnicity to many modern literary critics. Too often, they simply do not see Irishness or do not think it relevant, and as a result, many Irish-American characters have been de-ethnicized in the critical literature of the past century. This volume reestablishes the importance of Irish ethnicity to many characters that have come to be misread as generically white and shows how Irishness is integral to their stories.
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