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Monthly Archives: September 2015

WATCH: Richard S. Dunn, 2015 Winner Of Anisfield-Wolf Prize: “It Is A Tremendous Honor”

Richard S. Dunn spent 40 years researching and writing "A Tale of Two Plantations," a scrupulous, revelatory archival investigation of some2,000 people enslaved across three generations: roughly half on a Jamaican sugar plantation called Mesopotamia, and half on Mount Airy, a Virginia tidewater plantation growing tobacco and grain. As is our tradition, we interview each of our winners prior to the hustle of the evening to get their quiet thoughts on what being recognized means to them. Here is Dunn's turn in front of the camera: Richard S Dunn, 2015 Anisfield-Wolf winner for nonfiction from Anisfield Wolf on Vimeo.   Read More →

WATCH: Marilyn Chin On Winning The 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Prize: “I Believe I’m An Activist Poet”

As Marilyn Chin began her acceptance speech for this year's award for poetry, she looked out in the audience upon former poet laureate and jury member Rita Dove, thanking her for her sisterhood. Dove praised "Hard Love Province," noting, "In these sad and beautiful poems, a withering portrayal of our global ‘society’ emerges – from Buddha to Allah, Mongols to Bethesda boys, Humvee to war horse, Dachau to West Darfu, Irrawaddy River to San Diego.” As is our tradition, we interview each of our winners prior to the hustle of the evening to get their quiet thoughts on what being recognized means to them. Here is Chin’s turn in front of the camera:   Marilyn Chin, 2015 Anisfield-Wolf winner for poetry from Anisfield Wolf on Vimeo.   Read More →

WATCH: Marlon James On Winning The 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Prize: “My Whole Life Has Been Shaped By Anisfield-Wolf”

It was a brief passage in "Sula," Toni Morrison's 1973 novel, that changed Marlon James' entire life: in it, Sula refutes the idea that her life choices only have value if affirmed by others. James realized: "I don't owe anything to anyone. I didn't have anything to prove. I could be the writer; I could be the artist. I could be the person that I want." James' indebtedness to Morrison extends further into the Anisfield-Wolf canon—Edwidge Danticat, Arnold Rampersad, Wole Soyinka are among the winners he referenced as he accepted his prize for 2014's "A Brief History of Seven Killings" at the sold-out awards ceremony at Playhouse Square. As is our tradition, we interview each of our winners prior to the hustle of the evening to get their quiet thoughts on what being recognized means to... Read More →

WATCH: Jericho Brown On Winning The 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Prize: “The Writing I Do Is Part Of A Tradition”

"My idols sat around and read my book, y'all," Jericho Brown remarked from the podium at the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony. Moments later he launched into "Labor," a piece featured in his 2014 collection, The New Testament.  As is our tradition, we caught up with Brown in a few quiet moments before this year’s ceremony to hear his thoughts on being honored with the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for poetry: Jericho Brown, 2015 Anisfield-Wolf award winner for poetry from Anisfield Wolf on Vimeo.   Read More →

Artwork Inspired By Anisfield-Wolf Winners Coming Soon To Cleveland’s Public Transit

  Clevelanders feeling uninspired on their daily commute will soon have one route infused with a new literary landscape.   An extraordinary collaboration between the Cleveland Foundation, the City of Cleveland and LAND studio will bring public artwork to the Regional Transit Authority's Red Line—the 19-mile stretch from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to downtown Cleveland—in time for the Republican National Convention in 2016. These art installations will honor Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners, potentially including local literary giants Toni Morrison and Langston Hughes and national leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The awards, which began in Cleveland 80 years ago, honor authors whose works confront racism and celebrate diversity. The current view... Read More →

READ: Adrian Matejka’s New Jean-Michel Basquiat-Inspired Poem, “& Later,”

Take a look at Jean-Michel Basquiat’s mesmerizing 1984 painting “Trumpet.” It inspired a new poem from Adrian Matejka that he calls “& Later,” Matejka won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award last year for “The Big Smoke,” his Jack Johnson-infused collection. Now the Indiana University professor is putting together a new book called “Collectable Blacks.” “I get caught up easily in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings, especially his work focusing on boxers and jazz,” Matejka said. “His painting from 1984, ‘Trumpet,’ cracked open a tense holiday moment from my childhood. I don’t remember any actual trumpets at that holiday fracas, but Basquiat’s lines and pigments always seem to create unexpected opportunities for improvisation and meditation.” Matejka made... Read More →
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