"Johnson's Red Summer startles and impresses with its sheer range of vision, at one moment giving us a hushed, confessional poem, at another a poem of public, political consciousness. Red Summer gives us the stirring debut of a restorative new American voice."-Carl Phillips This haunting debut collection explores a rash of race riots that swept the United States during the summer of 1919. With a tender lyrical quality, reminiscent of the blues, Johnson moves through trauma and personal catastrophe to champion the endurance of the human spirit. These poems are underscored by music so unsettling they leave the voices of the dead lingering in the ear. "Burlesque" Watch the fire undress him, how flame fingers each button, rolls back his collar, unzips him without sweet talk or mystery. See how the skin begins to gather at his ankles, how it slips into the embers, how it shimmers beneath him, unshapen, iridescent, as candlelight on a dark negligee. Come, look at him, at all his goods, how his whole body becomes song, an aria of light, a psalm's kaleidoscope. Listen as he lets loose an opus, night's national anthem, the tune you can't name, but can't stop humming. There, he burns brilliant as a blue note. Amaud Jamaul Johnson is a former Wallace E. Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His poems have appeared in New England Review, Rivendell, Poetry Daily, and other journals. Amaud Jamaul Johnson is a former Wallace E. Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. His poems have appeared in New England Review, Rivendell, Poetry Daily, From the Fishouse, and other journals. He teaches creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dorset, Vt. : Tupelo Press, 2006.
1st pbk. ed.
54 p. ; 23 cm.