A Selected History of Soul Speak

Alpine Books


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In this collection of poems, Andrea Thompson investigates the intersection of page and stage, and the evolution of spoken word as a hybrid form of literary orature. Thompson’s collection blurs the space between public and private, while excavating the influence of Black North American history, art and culture on contemporary poetics. From the slave songs and spirituals of the cotton fields of the Old South, to the smoky coffee houses of the Harlem Renaissance, to today’s slam stages and rap battles, these poems elevate the written and spoken word as vehicles for individual empowerment, collective agency and social justice. Thompson asks us: Why speak? Why write? And then takes us on a journey spanning decades, generations and cultures in the exploration of possible answers.