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jerryking : toni_morrison   6

Opinion | I Was Wandering. Toni Morrison Found Me.
Aug. 9, 2019 | The New York Times | By Jesmyn Ward.
Ms. Ward is the author, most recently, of the novel “Sing, Unburied, Sing.”
African-Americans  authors  books  fiction  obituaries  Toni_Morrison  tributes  women  writers 
august 2019 by jerryking
Toni Morrison Taught Me How to Think
Aug. 7, 2019 | The New York Times | By Wesley Morris.

You need to be able to read to be able to read. Especially if Toni Morrison did the writing. [because Toni Morrison's writings demanded much of the reader as her evocative words painted a rich context and vivid imagery.......She was going to make us [you, the reader] work, not as a task, not for medicine, but because writing is an art and a reader should have a little art of his own.....Reading a Toni Morrison novel was group therapy. My aunts, my mother and her friends would tackle “Beloved” in sections then get on the phone to run things by one another......They admired the stew of a Morrison novel, the elegant density of its language — the tapestry of a hundred-word sentence, the finger snap of a lone word followed by a period, the staggering depictions of lust, death, hair care, lost limbs, baking and ghosts. Morrison made her audiences conversant in her — the metaphors of trauma, the melodramas of psychology. She made them hungry for more stew: ornate, disobedient, eerie literary inventions about black women, often with nary a white person of any significance in sight. The women in my family were reading a black woman imagining black women, their wants, their warts, how the omnipresence of this country’s history can make itself known on any old Thursday.....A life spent savoring Toni Morrison, both as a novelist and a scalding, scaldingly moral literary critic, makes clear that almost no one has better opening sentences......This is all to say that Toni Morrison didn’t teach me how to read. But she did teach me how to read. Hers is the kind of writing that makes you rewind and slow down and ruminate. It’s the kind of writing that makes you rewind because, god, what you just read was that titanic, that perception-altering, that true, a spice on the tongue. .......Morrison is dead now, her legend long secure. But what comedy to think how the writers and critics who loved her labored to get her mastery treated as majesty when she’s so evidently supreme. .....She did for generations of writers what Martin Scorsese did for generations of filmmakers — jolt them, for better and worse, into purpose. Morrison didn’t make me a writer, exactly. What she made me was a thinker. She made the thinking seem uniquely crucial to the matter of being alive......I have now by my bed is some novel by Toni Morrison, whether or not I’m reading it. A night light for my soul. And, in every way, a Good Book.
African-Americans  authors  books  craftsmanship  critical_thinking  howto  novelists  novels  obituaries  purpose  reading  Slow_Movement  soul-enriching  Toni_Morrison  tributes  women  writers  writing 
august 2019 by jerryking
James Baldwin: why Beale Street still talks
JANUARY 31, 2019 | Financial Times | by Diana Evans.

The writer’s work remains hugely relevant, particularly in today’s charged racial atmosphere.......James Baldwin never goes out of fashion. This might seem an enviable attribute for a writer to sustain posthumously, if it were not for a predominant reason why. He is a soldier, a comrade. He is a brother-in-arms in a war that doesn’t end. Along with Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, Richard Wright, Nina Simone, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou and many others, Baldwin is among those foremost in an army of artists and activists who have challenged, fought and assuaged racism and become icons of “black struggle”. As the struggle continues and does not appear to be concluding any time soon, Baldwin’s work is as relevant and prevailing as ever.

The latest landmark in the mounting homage and salutation to Baldwin’s writing is Oscar-winning Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of his penultimate novel If Beale Street Could Talk. Set in Harlem in the 1970s, it’s a mournful, limpid, at times excruciating portrayal of an engaged young couple, Fonny and Tish (played by Stephan James and KiKi Layne), who are separated by Fonny’s sudden incarceration after being falsely accused of rape, leaving Tish to weather pregnancy alone. The film successfully mirrors the book’s oscillating, dreamy atmosphere, capturing the childlike innocence of Tish’s love-soaked narrative voice which accentuates the cruelty of the world around them. She asks, late in the novel, Fonny still hopelessly imprisoned and childbirth close, “What happened here? Surely, this land is cursed.”......No one else articulates with quite the same inexhaustible clarity the outrage, hardship, and fury of existing on the receiving end of race, the sense of being endangered, at best truncated, both physically and spiritually, on a most fundamental level........Born in New York in 1924, Baldwin grew up in poverty in Harlem, the eldest of nine children, and was a gifted Pentecostal preacher prior to being a writer, though he eventually left the church, deeming it a reinforcement of institutionalised modes of oppression. A novelist, essayist, playwright and short-story writer, during his lifetime he became a kind of literary spokesman for the civil rights movement, appearing on the cover of Time magazine in 1963 and forming friendships with Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers, all of whom were assassinated, which he was trying to address in his unfinished manuscript “Remember This House”, the basis for I Am Not Your Negro.
African-Americans  blackness  films  movies  James_Baldwin  Toni_Morrison  writers 
february 2019 by jerryking

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