University of South Carolina Press

Palmetto Poetry Series

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Palmetto Poetry Series

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Little Anodynes

Poems

Jon Pineda

The third collection by the prize-winning Asian American poet Jon Pineda, Little Anodynes is a sequence of lyrical, personal narratives that continue Pineda’s exploration of his biracial identity, the haunting loss of his sister, and the joys—and fears—of fatherhood. With its title inspired by Emily Dickinson, Little Anodynes offers its poems as “respites,” as breaks in the reader’s life that serve as opportunities for discovery and healing. Pineda deftly uses shortened lines and natural pauses to create momentum, which allows the poems to play out in a manner evocative of fine cinema, as if someone had left a projector running and these narratives were flickering and blending endlessly in an experience shared by the viewer, the storyteller, and the story itself.

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New and Selected Poems

Marjory Wentworth

New and Selected Poems includes more than fifty poems from Marjory Wentworth’s previous three collections, Noticing Eden, Despite Gravity, and The Endless Repetition of an Ordinary Miracle, plus twenty-eight new poems. This collection serves as a capstone to Wentworth’s tenure as South Carolina poet laureate, a title she has held since 2003. Thematically Wentworth’s poems invite us to view nature as a site of reflection and healing, to consider the power of familial bonds and friendships, and to broaden our awareness of human rights and social justice. Regional settings appear throughout, indicative of Wentworth’s commitment to represent her adopted home state of South Carolina in her work. She skillfully employs a variety of forms, from prose poems to sonnets to elegies to list poems, making for a varied and interesting trek through this “best of” collection of her poems to date. This collection includes a foreword by the poet Carol Ann Davis, author of Psalm and Atlas Hour and assistant professor of English at Fairfield University.

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Ota Benga under My Mother's Roof

Carrie Allen McCray

In Ota Benga under My Mother's Roof, Carrie Allen McCray (1913–2008) uses poignant and personal verse to trace the ill-fated life of the Congolese pygmy who was famously exhibited in the Bronx Zoo in 1906 before being taken in by the McCray family of Lynchburg, Virginia. Rooted in the rich historical and autobiographic context of her own experiences with Benga, McCray offers compelling, dexterous poems that place Benga's story within the racial milieu of the early twentieth century as the burgeoning science of social anthropology worked to classify humans based on race and culture. The theme of this book is a study of humanity, of people of all kinds, in which Benga's vitality becomes the measure against which everyone is measured. With poems that revel in African American signifying, spirituality, and traditional storytelling, McCray's collection establishes a sincere legacy for Ota Benga as she shares her friend's harrowing tale with new generations.

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Seeking

Poetry and Prose Inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green

Kwame Dawes

The best art has the uncanny ability not only to give pleasure to those who view it but also to inspire a desire to respond. The best artists are a force for all art, and renowned Gullah artist Jonathan Green's work has inspired a wide range of responses from artists around the world. In Seeking we see how Green's art prompts works of poetry, prose, and memoir. Seeking's evocative power lies in the intimacy of this dialogue, which speaks to the shared sense of landscape and culture that Green stirs in these writers, ranging from close friends and fellow artists from his home state of South Carolina to nationally established authors who regard Green's work as an important cultural institution. The contributors have allowed themselves to be challenged by Green's brilliance, his honesty, his intense spirituality, and his deep love of people. Inspired by a personal quest toward induction into a spiritual community, Green's painting Seeking is rich with history, myth, and truth. The writers in this collection have found fertile ground for their own responses to Green's work, and the result is an engaging and enlivening chorus of celebratory voices. Edited by Kwame Dawes and Marjory Wentworth, this collection features eleven color paintings by Green in addition to a preface on the history of the project, information on the painting Seeking, and an artist's statement.

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Weary Kingdom

Poems

DéLana R.A. Dameron

In this new collection of poems, Weary Kingdom, DéLana R. A. Dameron maps a journey across emotional, spiritual, and geographic lines, from the familiarity of the honeysuckle South to a new world, or a new kingdom—Harlem. Her poems traverse the streets of this Black mecca with a careful eye cast toward the intimacies of the exterior. Still, as the poems move throughout the built environment, they navigate matters of death, love, love loss, and family against the backdrop of a city that has yet to become home. Indeed what looms over this weary kingdom is a longing for the certainties of a lover’s touch, the summer’s sun, and the comforts of a promised land up North. And as the poet longs, so do readers. Ultimately they grow aware of Utopia’s fragility.

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