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Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets

edited by Bianca Lynne Spriggs and Jeremy Paden

Availablepaperback$24.95s 978-0-8131-7523-2
160 pages  Pubdate: 02/23/2018  8 x 8  

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The Appalachian region stretches from Mississippi to New York, encompassing rural areas as well as cities from Birmingham to Pittsburgh. Though Appalachia’s people are as diverse as its terrain, few other regions in America are as burdened with stereotypes. Author Frank X Walker coined the term “Affrilachia” to give identity and voice to people of African descent from this region and to highlight Appalachia’s multicultural identity. This act inspired a group of gifted artists, the Affrilachian Poets, to begin working together and using their writing to defy persistent stereotypes of Appalachia as a racially and culturally homogenized region.

After years of growth, honors, and accomplishments, the group is acknowledging its silver anniversary with Black Bone. Edited by two newer members of the Affrilachian Poets, Bianca Lynne Spriggs and Jeremy Paden, Black Bone is a beautiful collection of both new and classic work and features submissions from Frank X Walker, Nikky Finney, Gerald Coleman, Crystal Wilkinson, Kelly Norman Ellis, and many others. This illuminating and powerful collection is a testament to a groundbreaking group and its enduring legacy.

Bianca Lynne Spriggs is a writer, multidisciplinary artist, and assistant professor of English at Ohio University. She is the recipient of a Kentucky Arts Council 2013 Al Smith Individual Arts Fellowship in Poetry, as well as a recipient of multiple artist enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Spriggs is the author or coeditor of a number of books, including Kaffir Lily, Call Her by Her Name, and The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor.

Jeremy Paden is an associate professor of Spanish and Latin American literature at Transylvania University. His poems have appeared in such places as the Atlanta Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cortland Review, Louisville Review, Naugatuck River Review, pluck! and Rattle, among others. He is the author of two collections of poems, Broken Tulips and ruina montium.

Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets is a beautiful collection of both old and new work. -- USA Today

The Affrilachian Poets continue to be a groundbreaking literary force. . . . In celebration of their decades-long collaboration, the group has published its first anthology, Black Bone. -- Detroit Free Press

Black Bone is a testament to the work of this trailblazing group which has created a poetic revolution by demanding recognition and promoting racial justice through dynamic and impact writing. -- Mid-South Tribune

Regardless of your race, color, or creed, Black Bone will enrich your appreciation of poetry and the almost defunct art of essay writing. [It] opens up a world of gifted, unpredictable, illusive mind-snatching poets. I love this work, and it will remain a collection I shall return to time and time. -- The Mid-South Tribune

Spriggs and Paden serve as apt coeditors of Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets, due not only to their affiliation with the group, but also because of their commitment to celebrating the power of words through their respective academic fields in English and Spanish/Latin American literature. [They] highlight the evolving nature of the poets’ work in the region and beyond.

The poems stake a claim to land, culture, and people, while exhibiting lived social binaries like the beautiful and the ugly, the courageous and the fearful. -- Journal of Appalachian Studies

Jeremy Paden is a recipient of the 2018 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council for exemplifying excellence in poetry.