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Poetry African American

searching for eastman

by (author) charles C. smith

Mawenzi House Publishers Ltd.
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
African American, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
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Shortlisted for the ReLit Award, Poetry, 2022

searching for eastman is a multidisciplinary performance--a choreopoem--in four acts, based on the interpretation of four of Julius Eastman's compositions--evil nigger; prelude to st joan; stay on it; and gay guerrilla. Making use of different artistic forms--poetry, theatre, music, dance, video, and digital--it is inspired by the African griot tradition, the Harlem Renaissance (eg the work of Langston Hughes with jazz and Kurt Weil), and the Black Arts movement (eg Amiri Baraka's work with Sun Ra).

About the author

Charles Smith is Equity Advisor to the Canadian Bar Association and a Lecturer in Cultural Pluralism in the Arts at University of Toronto Scarborough.

charles C. smith's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Like its inspiration, searching for eastman is boldly multi-faceted and inventive." --Barb Carey, Toronto Star

"searching for eastman is a work of genius. Employing poetry, video, dance, and occasionally prose, Charles Smith depicts the historic and sometimes subliminal dimensions of Black queer ontology as it impacted the life and work of Julius Eastman. The poem is often surreal with characters whose names evoke ethos rather than people and yet Smith manages to keep it close to empirical reality. The breadth and depth are stunning. One must read it with the attention one gives to The Waste Land." --H Nigel Thomas, author of Return to Arcadia

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