Into a Light Both Brilliant and Unseen
Conversations with Contemporary Black Poets

Interviews conducted and edited by Malin Pereira

Revealing and in-depth interviews with distinctive voices of a new generation


“There is nothing quite like hearing poets think out loud. This volume is a major testament to the lively discussions going on in black poetry today, and the publication of such a book is long overdue.”
—Aldon Lynn Nielsen, author of Integral Music: Languages of African American Innovation

"The eight writers interviewed by Malin Pereira are key poets whose work is crucial in understanding how American poetry is one of the most dynamic literatures in the world. Each excellent interview gives fresh insight into the poet's work and examines how this active generation of writers has gone beyond a specific black aesthetic to address racism and its politics in a universal manner."
Bloomsbury Review

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Malin Pereira’s collection of eight interviews with leading contemporary African American poets offers an in-depth look at the cultural and aesthetic perspectives of the post–Black Arts Movement generation.

This volume includes unpublished interviews Pereira conducted with Wanda Coleman, Yusef Komunyakaa, Thylias Moss, Harryette Mullen, Cornelius Eady, and Elizabeth Alexander, as well as conversations with Rita Dove and Cyrus Cassells previously in print. Largely published since 1980, each of these poets has at least four books. Their influence on new generations of poets has been wide-reaching.

The work of this group, says Pereira, is a departure from the previous generation’s proscriptive manifestos in favor of more inclusive voices, perspectives, and techniques. Although these poets reject a rigid adherence to a specific black aesthetic, their work just as effectively probes racism, stereotyping, and racial politics. Unlike Amiri Baraka’s claim in “Home” that he becomes blacker and blacker, positioning race as a defining essence, these poets imagine a plurality of ideas about the relationship between blackness and black poetry. They question the idea of an established literary canon defining black literature. For these poets, Pereira says, the idea of “home” is found both in black poetry circles and in the wider transnational community of literature.

A Sarah Mills Hodge Fund Publication

Page count: 260 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


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Malin Pereira is a professor and chair of the Department of English at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She is the author of Rita Dove’s Cosmopolitanism and Embodying Beauty: Twentieth-Century American Women Writers’ Aesthetics.