Recent Issues of Killens Review of Arts & Letters:
As we honor the centennial birth of poet, mentor, and humanitarian Gwendolyn Brooks this past year, her poem “Paul Robeson” reminds us of the importance and interconnectedness of family and community. She ends the poem saying “… that we are each other’s / harvest: we are each other’s / business: we are each other’s / magnitude and bond.”
The theme of “Gathering at the Waters” connotes bringing together family and communities to look at the ways in which we affect and are part of each other’s lives. For this issue of the Killens Review of Arts & Letters, Fall 2017, we want to continue that exploration of “connecting family through literature and art” in the works of Black writers.
In this issue, we explore the kinds of works that center race and difference in the texts of writers and artists. These writers and artists create narratives and texts that embrace race and differences from the perspective of politics, sexual identity, history, and cultural heritage.
The recent death of James Alan McPherson, the first Black writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for his 1978 anthology Elbow Room, is a reminder that writers of the African diaspora have been “writing race and embracing difference” for decades.
Memories have a magical power: they can stir our imaginations and deepest emotions.
Memories are creative sparks that can be the genesis for heart-warming memoirs, provocative essays, conscious-raising poems, or creative nonfiction and fiction narratives.
Author and poet Tracy K. Smith notes that wanting to write about her mother’s death was the impetus for her newly released memoir, “Ordinary Light.” The late Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez said that “the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good.”
Every age has created myths to help us understand the mysteries of the universe and the human condition. Mythologists and writer Joseph Campbell inform us that myths are public dreams and that dreams are private myths.
In the Fall 2015 issue of the Killens Review of Arts & Letters, we to explore the theme of cultural and social memory and myth in literature and art.
In 1926, Langston Hughes noted that “We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. …We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves.”
It’s been nearly 90 years since Hughes offered his credo, and writers across the African diaspora have been and continue to create bold and imaginative narratives in works covering a wide range of genres that have fulfilled his call.
Under the theme of “The Next Wave,” the Spring 2015 issue of the Killens Review of Arts & Letters contains fiction, essays, poetry, and artwork that represent the literature and language that are influenced by current events in the Americas, the Caribbean, and throughout the African diaspora.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the late John Oliver Killens was considered a premiere writer-activist. While many of his books, such as “Youngblood,” reflect honest and realistic portrayals of African-American experiences, there was also the vibrant tone of activism in his telling of the story. Literature and art and politics may have their own distinctive ideals; however, when combined with an activist spirit at its heart the resulting work is powerful and memorable. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision,and this summer marks the 50th anniversary of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Mississippi Summer Project, known as Freedom Summer, in which civil rights organizations including the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized a voter registration drive aimed at increasing voter registration in Mississippi. More than 1,000 people exhibited their activists’ spirit and voices to oppose social and racial injustice in the South.
Thinking back on these historic events in which activism was galvanized, it calls for reflection upon the ways activism has impacted art and literature – then and now.
Thank you to everyone who submitted for this issue!
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Back Issues of the Killens Review of Arts & Letters:
LUIS REYES RIVERA PHOTOGRAPHED BY GEORGE MALAVE
Feature: What Do You Do to Help Change the
World? by Louis Reyes Rivera
Essay: On the Passing of a Major Revolutionary Poet,
Louis Reyes Rivera by Tony Medina
Tribute: To Louis Reyes Rivera by Tony Mitchelson and Angela Kinamore
Feature: Black Writers Reflect on Ecoliterature by Brenda M. Greene, Ph.D. (Read)
Essay: Rescue Missions and Environmental Justice in Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters by Barbara J. Webb
Portfolio: Artist Elvira Clayton
Interview: Stephanie Powell Watts by Clarence V. Reynolds (Read)
Fiction: Family Museum of the Ancient Postcards by Stephanie Powell Watts
Feature: Excerpt from Gypsy & The Bully Door by Nina Angela Mercer
Poetry: by Dana Crum and Keisha-Gaye Anderson
Fiction: 1980 When We Were Kinds in JA by Sean Anderson
Henry Dumas photograph courtesy of the Henry Lee Dumas Estate: Eugene B. Redmond, literary executor.Copyright 1968-2012 by Loretta Dumas and Eugene B. Redmond
Essay: Henry Dumas and John Oliver Killens: Activism Across Generations by Jeffrey Leak (Read)
Fiction: Arc of Bones by Henry Dumas
Portfolio: Artist David Graves
Feature: Selected Proceedings from the 2010 National Black Writers Conference by Brenda M. Greene, Ph.D. (Read)
Feature: Black Writers Reconstructing the Master Narrative (Read)
Feature: The Impact of Hip-Hop and Popular Culture in
the Literature of Black Writers
Poetry: By Tracey K. Smith
Portfolio: Jean-Michel Basquiat: A Dedication to His Growth as an Artist by Javaka Steptoe
Tribute: To Lynnette Velasco
Fiction: My Own Flesh and Blood by Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti
Fall / Winter 2010
The Power of Voice
Table of Contents
Essay: Amiri Baraka and Poetic Obscurity by Geoffrey Jacques
Interview: A Conversation with Ntozake Shange by Brenda M. Greene, Ph.D. (Read)
Excerpt: Some Sing, Some Cry by Notzake Shange and Ifa Bayeza
Poetry: A Rich Voice in Verse: Poems by Carolyn M. Rodgers; Movement by Keisha-Gaye Anderson
Portfolio: Photographer Jules Allen
Fiction: Ms. Cuffee by Sean Anderson
Spring / Summer 2010
The World of Book Publishing
Table of Contents
Feature: Let’s Do Lunch by Herb Boyd (Read)
Feature: A Select List of Literary Agents
Feature: Ebb and Flow in Black Publishing by David Hatchett
Excerpt: John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
Essay:Toni Morrison: Recreating the Master Narrative by Brenda M. Greene, Ph.D. (Read)
Excerpt: Glorious by Bernice L. McFadden
Essay: Why African-American Children’s Literature? by Lynnette Velasco (Read)
Feature: Blogging: The Democratization of News by Candice Newberry
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- Elders Writing Workshop – (Seniors 65 & up)- a partnership with Siloam Presbyterian Church and Poets & Writers©
- John Oliver Killens Reading Series, The (Hosts readings and discussions with contemporary authors and poets.)
- Killens Review for Arts and Letters ,The (Literary Publication)
- North Country Institute and Retreat for Writers of Color, The (A retreat for individuals who seriously wish to pursue a career as an author.) – a partnership with SUNY Plattsburgh
- Re-Envisioning Our Lives through Literature (Youth literacy programming geared toward elementary through High School Students) – a collaboration with the CUNY Office of Collaborative Programs, JP Morgan Chase, the Office of Council Member Al Vann, the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council, and Target©
- Writers on Writing (Radio program on WNYE)