Thursday, August 4, 2011
CHARLES JOHNSON EMBRACING THE WORLD
"The erudite articles, insightful essays, vibrant poems and stories, glowing tributes and animate interviews in this memorable volume not only address multifarious dimensions of the Charles Johnson canon but also bring into bold relief the magnetic appeal of a veritable activist relentlessly engaged in making the world a better place to live in." Jacket copy, Charles Johnson: Embracing the World.
E. Ethelbert Miller asks: "The book CHARLES JOHNSON EMBRACING THE WORLD was just released in India. How do you feel about this book? Any surprises in it? How often do you tend to disagree with what critics say about your work?
Actually, this stunning book was full of delightful surprises for me. When it arrived (on Monday, August 1), my first reaction was to feel humbled right down to my heels. I felt as if I might faint. And whenever I look at it or hold it in my hands that's still how I feel. So many of my old, dear friends and colleagues from the art and academic worlds for the last forty years (as well as outstanding scholars I've yet to meet) made contributions to this remarkable work published by Authorspress in India, which is co-edited by scholar Nibir Ghosh of Agra College, who with his wife Sanskrit scholar Sunita Rani Ghosh spent the 2003-04 academic year at the University of Washington on a Fulbright to study black American literature in general and my work in particular; and the indefatigable, prolific poet and arts activist E. Ethelbert Miller.
In a word, it's more than wonderful to see all these thought-provoking and original works gathered together between the covers of a single, inexhaustibly rich book---as if everyone, West and East, is having a grand, international party as they simultaneously discuss and create literature, criticism, and philosophy. That cross-cultural, inter-disciplinary orientation has always been dear to my heart. In 308 pages, we have beautifully composed tributes, remembrances, essays, interviews, critical articles, fiction and poetry by Gary Storhoff, Geffrey Michael Davis, John Whalen-Bridge, Linda Furgerson Selzer, Shayla Hawkins, Marc Conner, Sharyn Skeeter, Adam Tolbert, Aurélie Bayre, George Yancy, Zachary Watterson, Michael Boylan, Richard Hart, Robert Abrams, Chris Thomson, John B. Parks, Julia A. Galbus, Sunita Rani Ghosh, Nibir Ghosh, David Ray, Ashraf H.A. Rushdy, Qiana J. Whitted, and Amritjit Singh (as well as reprints of seven of my essays and stories).
I have no intention of disagreeing with anything the critics, scholars, and artists say about me and my work in this gorgeous book. Well, let's say I won't disagree too much because I feel so grateful to them. As a matter of fact, I am in their debt forever for their kindness and generosity, for creating scholarship that begins with my work, yes, but goes so far beyond it, opening numerous new doors of discourse on culture and ideas for serious readers; and for using the occasion of this book to create poetry and fiction that stand on their own as literary artworks of distinction.
So Nibir, Ethelbert, and everyone who made this amazing book possible, let me say thank you thank you thank you. All of you have enriched my life over the years, and done so yet again with this book. And let me say thank you in Sanskrit, that beautiful creation of India, too:
Posted by Ethelbert Miller at 4:41 AM