Kenyatta JP García
It has been a rough season. In all honesty, I’ve read more shelf and product labels than I have books over the past month but let’s pretend that my retail self and my editorial self have never met and instead, let me just focus on writing or rather reading.
So, what has been tickling my fancy these past few weeks? Well, to begin, I haven’t been reading too much contemporary stuff. Sorry. It’s the end of the year and I’m reflecting on some things. I’m taking this time to look back. Plus, I have some research to do for some upcoming events ergo, I’ve re-entered the world of Pushkin. For me, I don’t know where Pushkin ever goes wrong except occasionally when his class shows but with that written, the two pieces I go back to are The Gypsies which is one of his Southern Poems and the unfinished story, “The Negro of Peter the Great.”
Another blast from the past, retro-Russian book I have been re-investing some time in is Marina Tsvetaeva’s Letter to the Amazon. This is an interesting letter/essay written to an American friend in 1932 about lesbianism and motherhood. This work really gets us inside the sentiments and sentimentality of one of the great Russian Futurist writers. If you’re looking for more from this Stray Dog Cabaret member, this is it. A total complimentary piece to the poetry that we are all so familiar with.
Now, onwards to America. Ralph Ellison’s Shadow And Act. This book of essays is mostly focused on jazz but his understanding of myth-making is genius as are his insights into Twain, Hemingway and Faulkner and the uses of the black body within American literature. If all you’ve read by Ellison is Invisible Man, then perhaps it’s time to pick this up. He adds a much needed alternative perspective of black life that is very much still needed today.
And, from Russian Futurism, we move to AfroFuturism and The City: A Cyberfunk Anthology as edited by Milton Davis and featuring some of the finest black speculative writers is a concept anthology. 18 writers take turns re-envisioning a futuristic city with all sorts of speculative parameters. if you’re cyberpunk fan, this cyberfunk collection is where it’s at.
More recent books to check out include Steven Dunn’s Potted Meat, misha pam dick’s this is the fugitive and of course, Hanif Abdurraqib’s They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us.
As always the struggle is surreal.
Let your LitStyle editor rest for a minute and
next time there will be more to say,
Kenyatta JP Garcia