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Anisfield-Wolf Community Blog

The Enduring Legacy Of Gordon Parks Featured At Cleveland Museum Of Art

Gordon Parks Self-Portrait Photographer, filmmaker, poet and novelist Gordon Parks died in 2006 at the age of 93. But the 1998 winner of an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for lifetime achievement continues to exert a centrifugal force on American culture, well into the 21st century. Kendrick Lamar sampled Parks’ photographs for his music video “Element.” And a mesmerizing art exhibit, concentrating on Parks’ first decade of visual work, is now open to all at the Cleveland Museum of Art through June 30. There is no admissions... Read More →

Four Cleveland Students Honored For Their Social Justice Work

From left to right, Karson Baldwin, Sandhya Gupta, Elizabeth Metz, Jalen Brown and Brooke Peppard, a board member of the Princeton Prize on Race Relations. Photo Credit: Jeff Ivey Sophomore Elizabeth Metz was dismayed by students at Beachwood High School arguing whether slavery or the Holocaust was worse. Administrators say her student-led forums have improved campus race relations more than faculty and staff have been able to do. Senior Jalen Brown saw the toxic mix of homophobia and racism in the hallways of the Cleveland School of... Read More →

What Anisfield-Wolf Taught Me: Finding Strength In My Immigrant Identity

by Jessica Yang I was five when I came to the U.S. from China. My first experiences of America were formed in a predominantly white town where I could count the number of non-white classmates on one hand. Other children asked me why my eyes were so small, whether I ate dogs, and why my lunch of homemade dumplings smelled weird. I chose to bury these memories because I wanted to believe the world was a better place. “The trick was to understand America, to know that America was give-and-take. You gave up a lot but you gained a lot, too.”... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf -Winning Authors Nab Two Pulitzer Prizes

David W. Blight and Brent Staples -- two Anisfield-Wolf Book Award recipients – discovered this week that each had won a Pulitzer Prize.  Blight’s monumental biography, “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” received the Pulitzer for history. And Staples, an editorial writer for the New York Times, has won for a series of newspaper opinion pieces. Both men will be awarded $15,000. Two more Anisfield-Wolf winners were named as Pulitzer finalists: novelist Tommy Orange, this year's fiction winner for his debut, "There There" and... Read More →

“A World Built On Bondage”: Anisfield-Wolf Authors Close The 2019 Virginia Festival Of The Book

Esi Edugyan (Washington Black) and John Edgar Wideman (American Histories) discuss the meanings of race, violence, and freedom, as explored in their acclaimed fiction. Edugyan and Wideman each received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for an earlier novel; they are accompanied in conversation with Award jury member Rita Dove. This discussion of their work, reflections on historic injustices, and writing that helps make the American story a complete story will be the official closing program of the Festival, and seeks to support and celebrate... Read More →

Jericho Brown’s New Poetry Collection “The Tradition” A Daring, Inventive Body Of Work

Jericho Brown recreates the cover of The Tradition. Photo by Brian Cornelius. Artwork by Lauren “Ralphi” Burgess. The cover of Jericho Brown’s new poetry collection, The Tradition, features a young black boy, perhaps 10 years old, surrounded in a lush field of flowers, ocean waves at his back. It’s beauty is evident, but it intimidated Brown when he first saw it. “It’s so gorgeous and it does speak directly to the poems,” he told The Rumpus. “I kept wondering, “Are these poems good enough for this goddamn cover?” Let... Read More →

Interview with “Afterward” Director Ofra Bloch

“As a kid in Israel, my dream was to become a psychoanalyst and a filmmaker,” Ofra Bloch said in a telephone interview from her home in New York City. “Later on, I became a psychoanalyst but I never dared to go to filmmaking school. So when I decided to make a film, it was sheer chutzpah because I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t have any technical skills. But I knew what I wanted to see.” Her clear vision led her to make “Afterward,” a new documentary that explores the lingering and cross-cutting trauma embedded in... Read More →

Forthcoming Poetry Collection “Deluge” A Stunning Debut For Leila Chatti

Leila Chatti worked six years to create Deluge, 52 poems that the esteemed Copper Canyon Press will publish next year as her first book. Michael Wiegers, editor of the press that publishes Jericho Brown, C.D. Wright and W.S. Merwin, called Chatti in March to give her the news. “I’ve been happy-crying for the past hour driving to the prison I teach at – I’m so very, very excited to say my first book, DELUGE, is going to be published with @CopperCanyonPrs,” Chatti tweeted. “This feels like the best dream. I am so wildly grateful.... Read More →

Teaching Anisfield-Wolf In The Classroom

By Gabrielle Bychowski How do we talk about racism? How do we talk about sexism? These were two of the questions that initiated the 2018 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award seminar at Case Western Reserve University. The goal was not only to help facilitate talk about racism and sexism but also to study the ways in which this talk already occurs. Students were challenged to analyze and deconstruct the grammar and rhetoric of white supremacy: What are the images created and repeated? How are sentences structured to lead readers or listeners to certain... Read More →

Zadie Smith’s “Feel Free” Honored At National Book Critics Circle Awards

Zadie Smith, best known for her piercing comic novels, has won a National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism for her essays collected in Feel Free. She extended appreciation to her husband first, with a jaunty, “Thank you so much to Nick Laird, for sharing so much with me, willingly and unwillingly, including the title of his poetry book Feel Free, which I would also like to apologize to for stealing.” The book is a lively, capacious and learned romp through five sections that explore freedom of language and thought: “In the... Read More →
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