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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Book Notes

BOOK NOTES 2/12/2017

New publications from Commonwealth Books

Séjour, Victor. The Fortune-Teller. Trans. Norman R. Shapiro.  Boston: Second Line Press, 2017.

Séjour, Victor. The Jew of Seville. Trans. Norman R. Shapiro. Boston: Second Line Press, 2017.

Shapiro, Norman R., Trans. Creole Echoes: The Francophone Poetry of Nineteenth-Century Louisiana.

Boston: Second Line Press, 2016.

Victor Séjour (1817-1874) is in the foreground of the Francophone and exile tradition in African American literature, but little attention is given to his works outside of comparative literature studies and specialized studies of Louisiana literature.  This may change if the contributions of " Creoles -of-color" (gens de couleur libres) are discussed during the New Orleans Tricentennial in 2018, if due attention is paid to Les Cenelles: Choix de Poesies indigenes (1845).  Although he is only mentioned in a single paragraph in The Cambridge History of African American Literature (2011), his play The Brown Overcoat was included in Black Theater USA (1974) and his short story "The Mulatto" (1837) was acclaimed as "the earliest known work of African American fiction in the Norton Anthology of African American Literature (1997).  More recently, his poem "The Return of Napoleon" appeared in N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature (2013), edited by Nancy Dixon.

A bright moment of  necessary  rediscovery occurs when one reads Victor-Ernest Rillieux's ode to Ida B. Wells, "Amour et Dévouement" ("Love and Devotion") in Creole Echoes.

Salutes from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association

Winners of the 2017 BCALA Literary Awards are

Natashia Deon, Grace ---1st Novelist Award

Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn ---Fiction category

Colson Whitehead, Underground Railroad and Brit Bennett, The Mothers ---Honor Books for Fiction

Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race ----Nonfiction category

Monique Morris, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools ---Honor Book for Nonfiction

Clint Smith, Counting Descent: Poems ---Best Poetry Award

Monique Ferrell,  Attraversiamo (let's cross over) ---Honor Book for Best Poetry Award

Tyehimba Jess, Olio ---Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation

Jerry W. Ward, Jr.                                            February 12, 2017

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