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Author: Tyehimba Jess

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Wave Books

Copyright: 2016

Language: English

Olio

Part fact, part fiction, Tyehimba Jess's much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I. 

Olio is an effort to understand how they met, resisted, complicated, co-opted, and sometimes defeated attempts to minstrelize them.

So, while I lead this/choir, I still find that/I'm being led...I'm a missionary/mending my faith in the midst of this flock.../I toil in their fields of praise. 

When folks see/these freedmen stand and sing, they hear their God/speak in tongues. These nine dark mouths sing shelter;/they echo a hymn's haven from slavery's weather.

Author Bio

Detroit native Tyehimba Jess’ first book of poetry, leadbelly, was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” 

Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU Alumni, received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004-2005 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Jess is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team, and won a 2000 – 2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. He exhibited his poetry at the 2011 TEDxNashville Conference. 

Jess is an Associate Professor of English at College of Staten Island.

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