For this edited collection, we seek essays that investigate contemporary elegy within the black diaspora. We are especially interested in essays that discuss contemporary black writers’ responses to personal and public deaths, challenging some of the foundational components of the elegy, while still drawing on the form. One could look at the contemporary poem of mourning as a challenge to the elegy in its past form, as a commemoration of diasporic challenges (including police brutality), and/or as a vehicle for addressing concerns with citizenship and belonging. One could look to the poetry of Terrance Hayes, Tyehimba Jess, Mahogany Browne, Nikky Finney, Jericho Brown, Aracelis Girmay, Evie Shockley, Danez Smith, Claudia Rankine, Fred Moten, Warsan Shire, and Dominique Christina, among many others; one could also look to elegiac prose by authors such as Jesmyn Ward, Edwidge Danticat, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, to name a few. In addition, we invite contemporary creative writers working within the genre of elegy to submit. We are especially interested in poems or short creative prose pieces that grapple with Black Lives Matter themes, such as racial bias within the criminal justice system, police killings of black men, women, and children, and the surveillance of black communities. Putting these critical and creative works in conversation, Revisiting the Elegy will explore how mourning feeds our political awareness in this dystopian time, as black writers attempt to see, hear, and say something to the bodies of the dead as well as to living readers.
- Creative submissions (2-3 elegiac poems or short prose pieces) and 500-word essay abstracts are due by March 30, 2018.
- Contributors will be notified by April 15, 2018.
- Completed 6,000-8,000 word chapter submissions will be due by October 30, 2018.
Dr. Tiffany Austin currently teaches rhetorical and creative writing at the University of The Bahamas. Her research interests center on African Diaspora studies, including African American, Caribbean, Afro-Latino(a) and African literature. Austin has published poetry in African American Review, Callaloo, Obsidian, pluck!, Valley Voices, and Sycorax’s Daughters, a speculative literature anthology. Her photo essay “A South in Sound” was recently published in TriQuarterly, and her essay “The Gendered Blues in Sonia Sanchez’s Morning Haiku” also appears in the edited collection Sonia Sanchez’s Poetic Spirit through Haiku (2017).
Dr. Emily Ruth Rutter is Assistant Professor of English at Ball State University, where she teaches courses in Multi-Ethnic American and African American literature. She is the author of two monographs: Invisible Ball of Dreams: Literary Representations of Baseball behind the Color Line (University Press of Mississippi, May 2018), and The Blues Muse: Race, Gender, and Musical Celebrity in American Poetry (University of Alabama Press, Fall 2018). Her research has been published in the journals African American Review, South Atlantic Review, Studies in American Culture, Aethlon, and MELUS, and her book chapter on African American women poets appears in A Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century American Women’s Poetry.