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Anisfield-Wolf Community Blog

REVIEW: Tyehimba Jess’ “Olio” Puts Him In A Genre Of His Own

by Charles Ellenbogen Every once in a while, someone comes along – think Garrison Keillor, Richard Pryor, Spalding Gray – who defies any of our conventional notions of genre, so something has to be invented for them. Meet the newest member of the group – Tyehimba Jess. Jess, who this spring won both an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and a Pulitzer for poetry, has definitely written a book that contains pieces that seem like poetry, but even that term, as expansive as it is, seems limiting here. This book also contains artwork, posters... Read More →

Second Annual Cleveland Book Week Kicks Off September 5

For a second year, Cleveland becomes a national literary destination during Cleveland Book Week, an extended celebration of books and the people who love them. “Clevelanders will find all kinds of alluring on-ramps this year,” said Karen R. Long, manager of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. “We’ve aligned with MOCA’s Art Book & Zine Fair and renewed our partnerships with Cleveland Flea and Public Square. We’re heading into a memorable bibliophilic week.” From September 5-9, join us as we read, listen, gather to discuss books... Read More →

Bringing Personal Authenticity To The Classroom

The Lavender Graduation is an annual celebration that occurs on numerous campuses across the country, where graduating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied students are formally recognized and celebrated for their accomplishments. Last month, Anisfield-Wolf SAGE Fellow Lisa Nielson was honored during Case Western Reserve University's ceremony with the Prizm Award, which honors faculty and staff members significant contribution to the LGBTQ+ community. Her acceptance speech is reprinted here with permission.  In thinking about... Read More →

Dance Performance Inspired By “Hidden Figures” Premiering In Cleveland

Photo by Robert Muller Attendees at the Cleveland Foundation's annual meeting May 10 got a colorful taste of literature in motion. The Tri-C Creative Arts Dance Academy previewed their work, "Hidden," a vibrant period piece inspired by Margot Lee Shetterly’s “Hidden Figures,” our 2017 Anisfield-Wolf Award winner for nonfiction.   Now this coming Friday and Saturday, the academy will present their 2017 Spring Dance Concert, performing “Hidden” in its entirety.    The Creative Arts Dance Academy is a year-round dance program for... Read More →

“Good Luck Soup” Documentary Earns National Broadcast For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

  Set a reminder for the national broadcast premiere of “Good Luck Soup,” a 2016 documentary which tracks the multigenerational story of the Hashiguchi family and the ramifications of the Japanese interment during World War II. The film features a mesmerizing Cleveland family and became a breakout hit at the Cleveland International Film Festival, where it was the Anisfield-Wolf featured movie last year. Filmmaker Matthew Hashiguchi centers “Good Luck Soup” on his grandmother, the 91-year-old matriarch Eva Hashiguchi, who spent... Read More →

REVIEW: t’ai freedom ford’s “how to get over” Is An Urgent Reckoning With The Past

how to get over  -- the debut poetry collection from t’ai freedom ford -- is part instruction manual, part black culture guidebook and part handing the mic to everyone from Harriet Tubman to Rodney King. “Every single word I write is under the auspices of my ancestors,” ford declares.  The Cave Canem graduate gives them their say in 57 poems covering nearly 250 years of pain and beauty. ford, who teaches English in a New York City high school, leans into poetry with urgency—read this and read it now. She divides her book into four... Read More →

REVIEW: Joshua Bennett’s “The Sobbing School” Is A Lesson In The Blues

Watching Joshua Bennett perform his poetry is something like watching a Baptist preacher deliver a Sunday sermon. Once on stage, his face grows serious, his hands move emphatically and he plays with volume and silence in his delivery, using both to drive the audience to a rousing “Amen.” The New York native captures that same fire in his poetry collection, “The Sobbing School.” Winner of the National Poetry Series, selected by Anisfield-Wolf author Eugene Gloria, Bennett's debut strikes a powerful blow on the first page and... Read More →

REVIEW: Karan Mahajan’s “The Association of Small Bombs”

by Charles Ellenbogen This Anisfield-Wolf award winner is absolutely stunning. From its riveting opening pages until the truth of its conclusion, Karan Mahajan takes us through a stunning story of small bombs, both the ones used by terrorists and the ones encountered in everyday life. I think what’s new here is that Mahajan, as the perfectly designed cover demonstrates, connects the bombs in ways we rarely get access to, let alone appreciate. What’s also new and both bold and necessary is that Mahajan takes us inside the lives of these... Read More →

Introducing Our Class Of 2017

The Cleveland Foundation today announced the winners of its 82nd Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. The 2017 recipients of the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and examines diversity are: • Isabel Allende, Lifetime Achievement • Peter Ho Davies, The Fortunes, Fiction • Tyehimba Jess, Olio, Poetry • Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs, Fiction • Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures, Nonfiction “The new Anisfield-Wolf winners broaden our insights on race and diversity,” said... Read More →

Louise Erdrich Wins Big At National Book Critics Circle Awards, Urges Writers To “Be Fierce And Dangerous About The Truth”

Poet and novelist Louise Erdrich, wiping tears from her eyes, accepted the National Book Critics Circle Award Thursday night for her latest work, LaRose, before a cheering audience at New York’s New School auditorium. LaRose tells of two families linked by tragedy, based on a story Erdrich heard about a gun accident long ago. “And of course the story was only two lines long: ‘A man killed a boy. The man gave up his son to be raised by the other family,’ “Erdrich told Kirkus Reviews. “I never thought I’d write about it, but the... Read More →
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