UI Press book explores innovation in African American poetry

Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry by Evie Shockley is now available as part of the Contemporary North American Poetry Series from the University of Iowa Press.

The book may be obtained at bookstores or directly from the UI Press, 800-621-2736 or www.uiowapress.org. Customers in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa may order from Eurospan Group at www.eurospanbookstore.com.

This series documents, analyzes, and seeks to sustain the diverse developments in North American poetry since the 1950s by publishing critical studies, collections of essays on poetics, and biographies, as well as correspondence and memoirs.

Beginning with a deceptively simple question — What do we mean when we designate behaviors, values, or forms of expression as “black”? — Shockley’s Renegade Poetics separates what we think we know about black aesthetics from the more complex and nuanced possibilities the concept has long encompassed.

She argues that a rigid notion of black aesthetics commonly circulates that is little more than a caricature of the concept. She sees the Black Aesthetic as influencing not only African American poets and their poetic production but also, through its shaping of criteria and values, the reception of their work.