Purdue Librarian Jamilla R. Gabriel Starts Call Number, a Subscription Service for Black Literature

Jamillah R. Gabriel (photo via Purdue University)

Librarian Jamillah R. Gabriel (photo via Purdue University)

article via jbhe.com

Jamillah R. Gabriel, librarian at Purdue University’s Black Cultural Center, has launched a new start-up subscription box venture that each month will send a newly released book written by a Black author to subscribers of the service. Subscribers also will receive four or five book-themed items with their new book that mirror prominent themes in the featured book as well as catalog cards and spine labels. The Call Number service, scheduled to debut in November, will start at $35 per month. Gabriel told JBHE that “I have selected the first book but I’m keeping that under wraps at the moment.”

Gabriel states that “These days there is a subscription box service for just about anything: fitness products, beauty products, even razors. However, after reviewing many literary subscription box sites I realized there were no book subscription boxes that highlighted Black literature. The lack of diversity in the publishing industry also spurred my decision to test the waters of entrepreneurship in an endeavor that would promote diverse literature in an easily accessible way.”

To read more, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/10/purdue-university-librarian-starting-a-subscription-box-service-for-black-literature/

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey Receives 2016 Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement

Natasha (photo via blog.bestamericanpoetry.com)

Natasha Trethewey (photo via blog.bestamericanpoetry.com)

article by jbhe.com

Natasha Trethewey, the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University and the former poet laureate of the United States, received the 2016 Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement from the Academy of American Poets. The award comes with a $25,000 prize.

In announcing the award, Marilyn Nelson, chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, stated that “Natasha Trethewey’s poems plumb personal and national history to meditate on the conundrum of American racial identities. Whether writing of her complex family torn by tragic loss, or in diverse imagined voices from the more distant past, Trethewey encourages us to reflect, learn and experience delight. The wide scope of her interests and her adept handling of form have created an opus of classics both elegant and necessary.”

Professor Trethewey is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and three other poetry collections. She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press, 2010).

To read more, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/09/natasha-trethewey-awarded-the-2016-fellowship-for-distinguished-poetic-achievement/

California State University at Fullerton Professor Natalie Graham Wins Cave Canem Poetry Prize

African-American Studies Assistant Professor Natalie Graham (photo via news.fullerton.edu)

African-American Studies Assistant Professor Natalie Graham (photo via news.fullerton.edu)

article via jbhe.com

Natalie Graham, assistant professor of African American studies at California State University, Fullerton, has been selected as the winner of the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize from the Brooklyn, New York-based Cave Canem Foundation. The nonprofit organization was founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady in 1996 to remedy the underrepresentation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape.

Dr. Graham will receive a cash prize and have her manuscript –  Begin With a Failed Body – published by the University of Georgia Press in the fall of 2017. She joined the faculty at California State University, Fullerton in 2013.

In describing her award-winning poetry collection, Dr. Graham said “the collection contains poems that are often dark — reimagining iconic religious, literary, and historical figures. They imagine a haunted Southern landscape where history is inescapable. When they speak of nation, religion or family, they often ruminate on the individual body’s frailty in the face of these larger, sturdier structures.”

Dr. Graham holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in American studies from Michigan State University.

Old Dominion University Professor Tim Seibles Named Virginia’s Poet Laureate

Virginia Poet Laureate Tim (photo via mosaicmagazine.com)

Virginia Poet Laureate Tim Seibles (photo via mosaicmagazine.com)

article via jbhe.com

Tim Seibles, professor of English at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, was named poet laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia by Governor Terry McAuliffe. Professor Seibles teaches in the master of fine arts in creative writing program at Old Dominion.

Professor Seibles joined the faculty at Old Dominion University in 1995. He was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2012 for his collection Fast Animal (Etruscan Press, 2012).

Professor Seibles is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He taught for 10 years in the Dallas public school system before earning a master of fine arts degree in creative writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier.

Writers Rally to Save Langston Hughes Home in Harlem via Crowdfunding

Langston Hughes (photo via theroot.com)

article by Angela Bronner Helms via theroot.com

The home occupied by one of the great leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes, still stands on 127th Street in Harlem today.  Hughes used the top floor of the home as his workroom from 1947 to his death in 1967; it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The current owner, who remains anonymous, listed the unoccupied dwelling for $1 million (which still has his typerwriter on a shelf) a few years ago, but it did not sell.  CNN Money reports that in a rapidly gentrifying New York, the home is now worth over $3 million.

Now that it’s on the market, writer Renee Watson has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise $150,000 to rent the home and turn it into a cultural center.

Over 250 people, many of them black writers, have given money in support and so far, the initiative to save Hughes’ house has raised almost $34,000.  “Hughes is deeply influential and important not only to me, but many writers of color,” says author Jacqueline Woodson, winner of the National Book Award for Brown Girl Dreaming, which opens with a Hughes poem.

Watson says she has spoken to the owner, who says she would definitely sell it, but “like me, she doesn’t want it to become condos or a coffee shop.”

To donate to the fund, please go to the I, Too, Arts Collective Indigogo page.

To read full article, go to: Black Writers Rally To Save Langston Hughes Home

AALBC.com’s 50 Favorite African-American Authors of the 20th Century

(photo via aalbc.com)

article via aalbc.com

1,826 readers cast votes back in 2001 for their favorite African-American authors. Here we share the 50 authors who received the most votes ranked in the order of the total number of votes received.  Below are the top 15.  To see the rest, go to: http://aalbc.com/authors/top50authors.php?

# 1 — (6.24%) Toni Morrison # 2 — (5.42%) Zora Neale Hurston # 3 — (4.82%) Maya Angelou # 4 — (4.71%) J. California Cooper # 5 — (4.33%) Alice Walker # 6 — (3.94%) Langston Hughes # 7 — (3.72%) E. Lynn Harris # 8 — (3.56%) James Baldwin # 9 — (3.23%) Terry McMillan # 10 — (3.18%) Bebe Moore Campbell # 11 — (2.74%) Richard Wright # 12 — (2.57%) Walter Mosley # 13 — (2.52%) Eric Jerome Dickey # 14 — (2.41%) Sheneska Jackson # 15 — (2.19%) Octavia Butler —Copyright AALBC.com.

Source: AALBC.com’s 50 Favorite African-American Authors of the 20th Century

Poet, Author and Professor Elizabeth Alexander Named to Pulitzer Prize Board

American poet Elizabeth Alexander speaks during an event in the State Dining Room at the White House on April 17, 2015, in Washington, D.C. First lady Michelle Obama hosted the event in celebration of National Poetry Month.

American poet Elizabeth Alexander (photo via Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

article by Stephen A. Crockett Jr. via theroot.com

Acclaimed poet, author and professor Elizabeth Alexander has been elected to the Pulitzer Prize board.

Alexander wrote and delivered her poem “Praise Song for the Day” for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 and was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry American Sublime and a 2016 Pulitzer finalist for her memoir, The Light of the World, according to the announcement on the Pulitzer website.

Alexander has taught at several schools, including the University of Chicago, New York University and Smith College, and was part of the faculty at Yale University for 15 years; she also served as chair of Yale’s department of African-American studies. Alexander was recently named the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and is the director of creativity and free expression at the Ford Foundation.

As a member of the 19-person board, Alexander will help decide the winners of the Pulitzer Prizes in in journalism, books, drama and music each April. She will serve a three-year term on the Pulitzer Prize board, on which members serve a maximum of nine years.

Learn more about Alexander here.