The South: to render all that it means to an African American takes someone acutely tuned to their senses, someone with a patience, a passion even, for the region's history and contradictions. It takes a poet. In this new anthology, the first of its kind, more than one hundred contemporary black poets laugh at and cry about, pray for and curse, flee and return to - the South. Voices new to the scene appear in The Ringing Ear alongside some of the leading names in American literature today, including Sonia Sanchez, Yusef Komunyakaa, Harryette Mullen, Nikki Giovanni, Kevin Young, Cornelius Eady, and Al Young. The southern worlds opened up by these poets are echoed in how their poems are grouped, under headings like Music, Food, and Work: Heeding the Lamentation and Roar of Things Made by Hand, or Religion and Nature: The Lord Looks Out for Babies and Fools, or Love, Flesh, and Family: The Hush and Holler Portraits.
Nikky Finney is a professor of creative writing at the University of Kentucky and the author of three collections of poetry: On Wings Made of Gauze ; Rice, which won a PEN America Open Book Award; and The World Is Round. She is also the author of Heartwood, a collection of short stories. Cave Canem is a national nonprofit organization committed to the discovery and cultivation of new voices in African American poetry. From its beginning in 1996, Cave Canem has offered a safe haven for black poets-whether schooled in MFA programs or poetry slams-to come together to work on their craft and engage others in critical debate. Go to www.cavecanempoets.org to learn more.