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