About this item

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 thatI'm being led ... I'm a missionarymending my faith in the midst of this flock ... I toil in their fields of praise. When folks seethese freedmen stand and sing, they hear their Godspeak 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.



About the Author

Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess is the author of two poetry collections, the 2004 National Poetry Series award-winning Leadbelly and the Pulitzer Prize winning Olio, heralded as "encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant" by Publisher's Weekly. The Library Journal has praised both books calling Leadbelly one of the "best poetry books of 2005" and Olio a "daring collection, which blends forthright, musically acute language with portraiture."

Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU Alumni, received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004-2005 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Jess is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team, and won a 2000 - 2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. He exhibited his poetry at the 2011 TedX Nashville Conference. Jess also received a 2016 Lannan Literary Award. He is Poetry and Fiction Editor of African American Review and Associate Professor of English at College of Staten Island.

Jess' fiction and poetry have appeared in many journals, as well as anthologies such as Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, Beyond The Frontier: African American Poetry for the Twenty-First Century, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Power Lines: Ten Years of Poetry from Chicago's Guild Complex, Slam: The Art of Performance Poetry.



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