Chris Abani’s prose includes Song For Night (Akashic 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic 2006), GraceLand (FSG 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta 1985). His poetry collections are Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen 2004), Daphne’s Lot (Red Hen 2003), and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi 2001). He is a professor at the University of California, Riverside and the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award and the PEN Hemingway Book Prize. There Are No Names for Red, poems in response to paintings by Percival Everett, will be released by Red Hen Press in 2009.
There Are No Names for Red
Chris Abani, Percival Everett
Publication Date: November 1, 2009
There Are No Names for Red is a collaborative work featuring the poetry of Chris Abani and the paintings of Percival Everett.
“Chris Abani’s poems remind us of what happens when moral boundaries are obliterated and the sacredness of life becomes a kind of cynical joke. But these poems also remind us of the human capacity for compassion and love in the face of unspeakable cruelty and fiendish conditions. Chris Abani and his poems matter to all.”—Ronald Gottesman, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California and Editor of the Norton Anthology of American Literature.
Publication Date: September 1, 2004
“Chris Abani’s Dog Woman is a mesmerizing, haunting, and sometimes subversive exploration of the personal and cultural politics of disempowerment and power. In these heart rousing and lyrically complex poems, the poet enacts the reconstruction of his feminized selves, and his personae struggle to re-form and transform both themselves and the difficult worlds they inhabit. At turns, earthy, enigmatic, devout, outraged, and compassionate, these elemental women’s voices ring true, as they sing siren songs, dirges, and hosannas, and as they navigate into new and unknown territories of human will and endurance. Dog Woman is a daring, trailblazing, and important book; it’s a vital addition to the poetry of our times.”—Maurya Simon, author of Ghost Orchid
“These poems reveal a prodigious imagination, which is enlivened by sardonic wit and an inexhaustible capacity for irony and empathy. Daring to span a historical continuum that takes us as far back as the rituals of Christ suffering, through the tragic history of the Mayans of Mexico, to the starkly modern concerns of contemporary life, these poems find beauty and grace in the most painful things. The achievement here lies in the poet’s ability to bring an engaging intelligence to bear on the complexities of race, gender and memory. Abani’s line has a sharp precision that turns a scream into a line of memorable lyric music without losing the emotion and force. That he does this again and again in poems of such vulnerability speaks highly of Abani’s art.”—Kwame Dawes, author of Midland
Publication Date: March 1, 2003
“Daphne’s Lot (An Epic) is an event of history, myth, and knowledge in the event of war and the ongoing turbulence of being human. With the language of hard truth lifted by singing Abani speaks what is impossible to speak. His poetry makes a shine in the hellish bogs where it is rare to see shine. Kindness is the measure of these poems. It’s a beautiful and tough poetry.”—Joy Harjo, Mvskoke poet and musician
“The masterful wedding of the narrative and the lyric in these poems (whose subject is the maturation of a sensibility, the coming-of-age of a young Englishwoman– the power of her ties to family, husband and her “adopted” country, Nigeria– as well as the illumination of her own soul and that of the narrator’s) fills the reader with both sorrow and wonder. It is an instructive tale for our age its vision of the individual will and imagination resisting the madness of politics and the destruction of war is singular and profound.”—Carol Muske-Dukes