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Olio
by Tyehimba Jess


Overview - Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

Winner of the 2017 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry

Winner of the 2017 Book Award from the Society of Midland Authors for Poetry

2016 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for poetry

2017 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award finalist

2017 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award finalist

Named a top poetry book of spring 2016 by Library Journal

Part fact, part fiction, Tyehimba Jess's much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I.  Read more...


 
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More About Olio by Tyehimba Jess
 
 
 
Overview
Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

Winner of the 2017 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry

Winner of the 2017 Book Award from the Society of Midland Authors for Poetry

2016 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for poetry

2017 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award finalist

2017 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award finalist

Named a top poetry book of spring 2016 by Library Journal

Part fact, part fiction, Tyehimba Jess's much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I. Olio is an effort to understand how they met, resisted, complicated, co-opted, and sometimes defeated attempts to minstrelize them.

So, while I lead this choir, I still find that
I'm being led...I'm a missionary
mending my faith in the midst of this flock...
I toil in their fields of praise. When folks see
these freedmen stand and sing, they hear their God
speak in tongues. These nine dark mouths sing shelter;
they echo a hymn's haven from slavery's weather.

Detroit native Tyehimba Jess' first book of poetry, leadbelly, was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU Alumni, has received fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Jess is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team. He exhibited his poetry at the 2011 TEDxNashville Conference. Jess is an Associate Professor of English at College of Staten Island.



 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781940696201
  • ISBN-10: 1940696208
  • Publisher: Wave Books
  • Publish Date: April 2016
  • Page Count: 256
  • Dimensions: 9.9 x 8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Poetry > American - African American

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-02-15
  • Reviewer: Staff

Encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant, this outsized second volume from Jess (Leadbelly) celebrates the works and lives of African-American musicians, artists, and orators who predated the Harlem Renaissance. Among its compendium of forms and characters is a series of sonnets tracking the uplifting performances of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the career of the once-enslaved autistic piano prodigy “Blind Tom” Wiggins. The orator Henry “Box” Brown, who famously escaped from the South in a crate, tells his own story by rewriting—taking back, as it were—some of John Berryman’s “Dream Songs.” Elegant paragraphs trace the career of the expatriate sculptor Edmonia “Wildfire” Lewis. Above all, however, the volume celebrates—and works to redeem, against old stereotypes—ragtime music and the ragtime composer Scott Joplin. Prose segments that carry the force of historical novels portray imaginary interviews, during the 1920s, with real people who knew Joplin: the interviewer, a disfigured WWI veteran, serves as a stand-in for Jess himself. Line drawings by Jessica Lynne Brown, exuberant typography, and the innovative layout reinforce the grand tribute that Jess’s words project: “the nocturnes boiling beneath the roof of my mouth extinguish each burning cross,” the singer Sissieretta Jones says, while Joplin himself explains what he meant to do: “lookin past the past and syncopatin into the future.” (Apr.)

 
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