Fields Watered with Blood
Critical Essays on Margaret Walker

Edited by Maryemma Graham

A celebration of the life and work of a remarkable writer


“Given her self-prescribed role as a spiritual and intellectual leader—one her readers and reviewers gladly acknowledge—Walker’s penetrating analyses and carefully constructed images of black life in America bespeak an uncompromising commitment to the integrity of an African American world view, one she considered essential for ‘saving’ America from its own destruction.”
—Maryemma Graham and Deborah Whaley, from the Introduction


Representing an international gathering of scholars, Fields Watered with Blood—now available in paperback—constituted the first critical assessment of the full scope of Margaret Walker’s literary career. As they discuss Walker’s work, including the landmark poetry collection For My People and the novel Jubilee, the contributors reveal the complex interplay of concerns and themes in Walker’s writing: folklore and prophecy, place and space, history and politics, gender and race. In addition, the contributors remark on how Walker’s emphases on spirituality and on dignity in her daily life make themselves felt in her writings and show how Walker’s accomplishments as a scholar, teacher, activist, mother, and family elder influenced what and how she wrote.

A brief biography, an interview with literary critic Claudia Tate, a chronology of major events in Walker’s life, and a selected bibliography round out this collection, which will do much to further our understanding of the writer whom poet Nikki Giovanni once called “the most famous person nobody knows.”

Page count: 384 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


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Maryemma Graham is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Kansas as well as the founder and director of the Project on the History of Black Writing. Among her books are three edited collections, On Being Female, Black and Free: Essays by Margaret Walker, 1932-1992; How I Wrote Jubilee and Other Essays on Life and Literature by Margaret Walker; and Conversations with Margaret Walker.