re-canonizing american women writers

ant2_000 I meant to blog about this earlier, but given everything going on in the world it slipped my mind. When I was in the U.S. for the American Studies Association meeting I found that Aunt Lute had finally released the second volume of its Anthology of U.S. Women Writers. The volume was edited by my mentor from college, and now dear friend, and I helped with the selection process of many of the authors. When I lobbied for including Palestinian American writers in the Heath Anthology of American Literature, I only managed to include a token poet, Naomi Shihab Nye. But this time I had a more receptive audience and I helped with the selection of several Arab American writers: Etel Adnan, Diana Abu-Jaber, Elmaz Abinader, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mohja Kahf, Nathalie Handal, and Suheir Hammad. There are also so many other amazing writers in the volume whose work I love: Jessie Redmon Fauset, Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lorde, Sonia Sanchez, June Jordan, Gloria Anzaldúa, Chrystos, Jewelle Gomez, Carolyn Forché Helena María Viramontes, Achy Obejas, Elizabeth Alexander, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Edwidge Danticat. This anthology is also terrific because even for the canonical writers the editors did not fall back on the typical selections of their writing. Too, there are a number of important singers whose lyrics are included in the volume such as Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Alix Olson. It almost makes me want to teach an American women writers course again. It’s an amazing anthology and you can peruse the table of contents here. You may order the book at Aunt Lute’s website.

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