cover image Letters to the Future: Black Women/Radical Writing

Letters to the Future: Black Women/Radical Writing

Edited by Erica Hunt and Dawn Lundy Martin. Kore, , $40 ISBN 978-1-888553-85-7

Hunt (Arcade) and Martin (Good Stock Strange Blood) treat the intersection of blackness and womanhood with deserved complexity and curiosity in this exceptional anthology, which operates like a master class in the variety and virtuosity of black women’s art. This volume showcases poetic innovators such as Tracie Morris, Harryette Mullen, and M. Nourbese Philip, who carved spaces for the voices of newer poets such as LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves, Harmony Holiday, and numerous others. The editors also expand the frame of “radical writing” to include the work of artists in other disciplines such as Kara Walker and Adrian Piper. Micro-essays establish a sense of community across the otherwise formally diverse writing. Shared by all contributors is an interest in language that, like the terms of the anthology’s title, is not self-evident. For instance, Claudia Rankine’s contribution is not from either of her high-profile “American Lyric” works but rather from Plot, her challenging third book, which uses prose, poetry, and allegory to think through pregnancy. In challenging what readers think of as blackness, womanhood, and writing, this collection’s ambition and vision sets it apart from seemingly similar anthologies. (Aug.)