Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep is a rich collection of the work of post-World War II African-American poets. It brings together the voices of the most important African-American poets of our time, beginning with the highly influential Robert Hayden and Gwendolyn Brooks, and covers an astonishing range of styles and techniques.
This extraordinary body of poetry is the flowering of an artistic tradition established earlier in this century by Paul Laurence Dunbar, Countee Cullen, and Langston Hughes. The newer work comprises many different visions, ranging from the chiseled and layered modernism of Jay Wright to the plainspoken ferocity of Sonia Sanchez, from the dazzling witticisms of Ishmael Reed to the plangent lyricism of Rita Dove. Edited by the distinguished poet Michael Harper and his star student and colleague Anthony Walton, this notable collection of work will be the standard anthology in the field for years to come.
Using Robert Hayden and Gwendolyn Brooks's poetry as ``emblematic'' successes, this anthology selects 35 African American poets (spanning three generations) who were born between 1913 and 1962 and came of age after 1945. Besides the well-known Amiri Baraka, Lucille Clifton, Rita Dove, and Etheridge Knight, the editors feature little-known or younger poets like Elizabeth Alexander, Gerald Barrax, Jayne Cortex, and Dolores Kendrick. (Curiously, James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, June Jordan, and Quincy Troupe are omitted.) With an introduction, headnotes, and selective bibliographies, this valuable work from a mainstream press updates Robert Hayden's Afro-American Literature, Dudley Randall's New Black Voices , and Abraham Chapman's New Black Voices . Recommended for public libraries. --Frank Allen, West Virginia State Coll., Institute