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/blak/ /al-fə bet/

/blak/ /al-fə bet/ Mitchell L. H. Douglas

Winner of the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky Editor's Choice Award

The musical, muscular poems in this touching second collection depict the lives of a southern black family after the death of its matriarch. Mitchell L. H. Douglas gives voice to the spirit and ghosts of one community’s America with a mix of fierce conscience and deep tenderness. He "has built ‘an altar of remembrance’ that is at once personal and collective." (Donna Seaman, Booklist) His /blak/ /al-fə bet/ is a volume of unforgettable melody, integrity, and warmth.

Praise for the book:

“Like Al Green who ‘sings of the corners’ jut to meet you, the pain of the angle, how one street runs right into the next,’ Mitchell Douglas navigates sacred and secular avenues, the age-old aches and new age joys, the uptown and downhome worlds of his people. Vignettes of landscape and culture blend until “there is no curb between street & skin” in these wonderful new poems. Like its author, blak al-fe bət is a force of scrutinizing intellect, imagination and soul.”—Terrance Hayes, author of Lighthead

“This book reaches back to a recent past that now seems far away, as if the speed of the present is causing that past to shrink and dim. Many of the poems capture a world just before it changed, before it became less centered, less vital. And that makes this a book of profound grief—grief for what we miss, and a further grief for what is missing now. ‘No one loves like this anymore,’ Mitchell Douglas observes. He’s right about that, and he is right to have made this deep and moving book in tribute.”—Maurice Manning, author of The Common Man

“It was clearly impossible for Mitchell Douglas to improve on the deftly-honed character sketches of his acclaimed first effort, Cooling Board. But he simply wasn’t fazed by the specter of impossibility. Between these covers are fresh stanzas of drum and muscle, documenting the addictive dramas of colored folk. Every line is threaded with funk and ferocity, conjuring a world that is as relentless and essential as the alphabet."—Patricia Smith, author of Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah

About the Author:

Mitchell L. H. Douglas is the author of Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem. He is also a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, a Cave Canem fellow, and the poetry editor for PLUCK!: A Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, he resides in Indianapolis, where is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

Paperback/ $15.95 (Can. $17.00)/ ISBN: 978-089255-421-8/ 80 pages/ Poetry


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