25 August 2013

22 August 2013

NEW READ | Buck: A Memoir by MK Asante (2013)

Asante, M.K. (2013). Buck: A memoir. NY: Spiegel & Grau.
ISBN-13: 978-0812993417 | Hardcover | $25.00 USD

This memoir promises to be one of the most revered life stories depicting a contemporary young male coming-of-age in urban America, since Claude Brown's Manchild of the Promised Land and Piri Thomas' Down These Mean Streets. Author MK Asante is son of the founder of Afrocentricity, the legendary Black Studies scholar, Molefi Keti Asante

Born in Zimbabwe and raised in North Philadelphia, MK Asante paints a gripping portrait of what it means to be an American Black man coming of age in the streets of hip hop era Philadelphia. Asante is honest in his revelations of how family issues are often the "whys" for teens finding solace and identity in the streets. For those of us who follow the genre of Urban Literature, Asante's story is a welcome addition to the canon. Shucks, given its early stellar reception, this book may shove comparisons aside, to stand valiantly, on its own.

I particularly like the early review of Pierce Freelon (via Amazon.com) where he says: "MK has a fascinating story. His father is a famous scholar - the founder of Afrocentricity. His mother is drowning in prescription drugs and a broken household. His sister lives with dementia - literally in another universe. His role model is his older brother Uzi - constantly on the run from the law. And then you have Philly - the City of Brotherly Love - full of dime jawns, blunt smoke, hip hop, broken schools and young bucks. It takes [a] village to raise a child - and MK was BUCK wild!"

Book Description:
A rebellious boy’s journey through the wilds of urban America and the shrapnel of a self-destructing family—this is the riveting story of a generation told through one dazzlingly poetic new voice.

MK Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents: a mother who led the new nation’s dance company and a father who would soon become a revered pioneer in black studies. But things fell apart, and a decade later MK was in America, a teenager lost in a fog of drugs, sex, and violence on the streets of North Philadelphia. Now he was alone—his mother in a mental hospital, his father gone, his older brother locked up in a prison on the other side of the country—and forced to find his own way to survive physically, mentally, and spiritually, by any means necessary.

Buck is a powerful memoir of how a precocious kid educated himself through the most unconventional teachers—outlaws and eccentrics, rappers and mystic strangers, ghetto philosophers and strippers, and, eventually, an alternative school that transformed his life with a single blank sheet of paper. It’s a one-of-a-kind story about finding your purpose in life, and an inspiring tribute to the power of education, art, and love to heal and redeem us.

Additionally, MK Asante is a poet, with two poetry books to his credit: Beautiful. And Ugly Too (2005) and Like Water Running Off My Back (2002). He's also previously published a treatise on Hip Hop entitled, It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip Hop Generation (2009). For more information on his publications, visit his website at: http://mkasante.com/books/buck/.  Asante is an Associate Professor at Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD.

05 August 2013

New Read | Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape (coming November 2013)

Be on the look out to pre-order this critical anthology about Street Lit:

Norris, K. (ed). (2013). Street Lit: Representing the urban landscape. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. | Hardcover |  ISBN-13: 978-0810892620  | $38.00 USD

Here is the book description:

"Over the last few decades, the genre of urban fiction—or street lit—has become increasingly popular, as more novels secure a place on bestseller lists that were once the domain of mainstream authors. In the 1970s, pioneers such as Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim, and Claude Brown paved the way for novelists, poets, and short story writers who have embraced the subject matter of street fiction today, including Sister Souljah, Kenji Jasper, and Colson Whitehead.

In Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape, Keenan Norris has assembled a varied collection of articles, essays, interviews, and poems that capture the spirit of urban fiction and nonfiction produced from the 1950s through the present day. Providing both critical analyses and personal insights, these works explore the street lit phenomenon and help readers understand how and why this once underground genre has become such a vital force in contemporary literature. Interviews with literary icons David Bradley, Gerald Early, and Lynel Gardner are balanced with critical explorations of works by Goines, Jasper, Whitehead, and others.

With a foreword by bestselling novelist Omar Tyree (Flyy Girl) and an introduction by Norris that explores the roots of street lit, this book defines the genre for today’s readers and provides valuable insights into a cultural force that is fast becoming as important to the American literary scene as hip-hop has meant to music. Comprised of work by scholars, established authors, and new voices, Street Lit will connect with any reader wanting to grasp the significance of this sometimes controversial but unquestionably popular art form." - retrieved from Amazon.com.

This is an anthology of critical essays, edited by Keenan Norris, Ph.D.

StreetLiterature site *ON HIATUS*

Greetings, This site is *on hiatus* until further notice. There are reasons: 1/ Since street lit has become pretty mainstream in publicat...