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Book Title: Abide|
The author of the book: Jake Adam York
Edition: Southern Illinois University Press
Date of issue: March 25th 2014
ISBN 13: 9781306456135
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 11.62 MB
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Reader ratings: 5.5
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In the years leading up to his recent passing, Alabama poet Jake Adam York set out on a journey to elegize the 126 martyrs of the civil rights movement, murdered in the years between 1954 and 1968. "Abide "is the stunning follow-up to York's earlier volumes, a memorial in verse for those fallen. From Birmingham to Okemah, Memphis to Houston, York's poems both mourn and inspire in their quest for justice, ownership, and understanding.Within are anthems to John Earl Reese, a sixteen-year-old shot by Klansmen through the window of a cafe in Mayflower, Texas, where he was dancing in 1955; to victims lynched on the Oklahoma prairies; to the four children who perished in the Birmingham church bombing of 1963; and to families who saw the white hoods of the Klan illuminated by burning crosses. Juxtaposed with these horrors are more loving images of the South: the aroma of greens simmering on the stove, "tornado-strong" houses built by loved ones long gone, and the power of rivers "dark as roux."
Throughout these lush narratives, York resurrects the ghosts of Orpheus, Sun Ra, Howlin' Wolf, Thelonious Monk, Woody Guthrie, and more, summoning blues, jazz, hip-hop, and folk musicians for performances of their "liberation music" that give special meaning to the tales of the dead.
In the same moment that "Abide" memorializes the fallen, it also raises the ethical questions faced by York during this, his life's work: What does it mean to elegize? What does it mean to elegize martyrs? What does it mean to disturb the symmetries of the South's racial politics or its racial poetics?
A bittersweet elegy for the poet himself, "Abide" is as subtle and inviting as the whisper of a record sleeve, the gasp of the record needle, beckoning us to heed our history.
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Read information about the authorJake Adam York is the author of Murder Ballads (2005), selected by Jane Satterfield for the Fifth Annual Elixir Press Awards Judge’s Prize, A Murmuration of Starlings, selected by Cathy Song for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry (2008), and Persons Unknown, forthcoming as an Editor's Selection in the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry (2010).
His poems have appeared in Shenandoah, Oxford American, Greensboro Review, Gulf Coast, New Orleans Review, Quarterly West, Diagram, Octopus, Southern Review, Poetry Daily, and other journals as well as in the anthologies Visiting Walt (Iowa University Press, 2003) and Digerati (Three Candles, 2006).
York is an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Colorado Denver, where he directs an undergraduate Creative Writing program and produces Copper Nickel with his students.
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