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Launching Feb. 15 from University of Georgia Press, this collection of essays by over 35 poets and scholars on poetry and race covers a lot of ground, provocatively, profoundly, with humor, sorrow, and quite a bit of grace. Every day, I am going to post the opening graf of a contributor's essay, today beginning with my Intro, tomorrow, Garrett Hongo, until each essay has been highlighted. I hope you consider getting this. You can order it here.
Introduction: A poet once said to me that what she wanted from a good poem was that it move her from one sense of regard to another. It seemed to me that these essays about poetry and race, some more heavily about one or the other, and some bringing in other complicating factors and concerns, are all about regard, and that the denotations and connotations of that word—to observe, give attention to, think about, have feelings for, hold in esteem, be moved by—spoke to the multiplicities of this project. Certainly, I was looking to embrace mystery versus mystification, and also to be inclusive beginning with the idea that both working poets as well as scholars would be included, but also including writers with different aesthetics as well as with differing racial and ethnic identities and ideas about race and ethnicity. Other identity markers such as gender, sexuality, religion, age, bodily status, and other matters of normative versus marginalization are represented....