Books

The half-century anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots this year drew much fanfare to the significance of that historical moment. It's undeniably encouraging to see the strides made since and, perhaps counterintuitively, continues to pique my curiosity for what came beforehand.

“My first day on the job was Monday May 11, 1981, 10:00 AM. At quarter to twelve the phone rang. It was Rita Marley and she wanted to talk to Don. So, Don gets on the phone, then he flashes out the door. And as he is going out the door he turns around and says, if anybody calls you don’t know anything. I knew right then that Bob was gone. He died that day in Miami”, says M Peggy Quattro.

Poetry can be a finger-beckoning-in invitation. It can be a fist, rising in solidarity. It can supersede the page, subverting genre, form and even power itself. Claudia Rankine--MacArthur Fellow, finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf, $20)--has long been celebrated for her powerful and subversive verse. Fans would do well to pick up her early Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric(Graywolf, $16), a potent, unforgettable exploration of violence, death, entertainment and living in her own body, and her own skin, in her own time.

I've just returned from the hypnotic pilgrimage that is Kathryn Davis's gorgeous novel The Silk Road (Graywolf), where the bardo somehow intersects with the Camino de Santiago: "Like the place in the dream where you always get lost, a well-traveled, well-known road shaking you loose into fear and confusion, propelling you toward that house just around the bend but there is no toward, there is no house, there is no bend."

Join us this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, for a showing of Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, the riveting documentary about the Nobel prize winning author by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

Miami – Publisher M. Peggy Quattro releases the first compilation of Reggae history from the Reggae Report Archives. Reggae Trilogy Vol. 1: 200+ 80s & 90 Artist Headshots is an entertaining, engaging time capsule that features 13 chapters of Reggae and Dancehall Headshots. Each collection begins with a personal and enlightening introduction by the Reggae pioneer. Volume 1's more than 200 promo Headshots depict the distinctive fashion, culture and lifestyle that catapulted Reggae and Dancehall artists onto the 80s and 90s world stage.

One of the true readerly delights of summer is heading to the beach (or the back porch) with a book you're dying to dig into. Whether it's a traditionally "summery" novel, a new twist on a classic or an inventive take on summer in the city, the bookish possibilities are endless--and all of them pair perfectly with sun, sand and iced tea.

Congratulations to Joy Harjo, who was recently named U.S. poet laureate, making her the first Native American to occupy the esteemed position.

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