âThis is a publication of major significance, particularly with the 500th anniversary of Columbusâs voyage approaching. It makes a vital contribution to our understanding of what is happening in this society.â âProfessor Dennis Brutus, University of PittsburghSince 1976 the Before Columbus Foundation has been devoted to the task of redefining our notion of mainstream American literature to reflect this countryâs multicultural, multiethnic, and multiracial diversity. Since 1980 it has sponsored the American Book Awards, which honor a wide spectrum of books that reflect this heritage. To recognize literary excellence in this way demands a panoramic perspective, without restrictions and without quotas. Open, inclusive, democratic, the American Book Awards celebrates the many tributaries that flow into, in Ishmael Reedâs words, the ocean of American literature. The Before Columbus Foundation Poetry Anthology includes over 150 selections from a decade of American Book Award-winning poetry. Authors represented include Ai, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Edward Dorn, Allen Ginsberg, Maurice Kenny, Etheridge Knight, Colleen J. McElroy, Charles Olson, Sonia Sanchez, Gary Snyder, Quincy Troupe, Terence Winch, and Elizabeth Woody. It will quickly be seen as a landmark, pioneering volume and literary event. Along with The Before Columbus Foundation Fiction Anthology, which is being published simultaneously, it is the first book to reflect accurately the American literature of the presentâand to prepare us for the American literature of the twenty-first century.
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