Percival Everett is the author of fourteen novels and three collections of short fiction including his newest title, re:f(gesture), published by Red Hen Press. He is the recipient of the Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the PEN/Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature (for his 1996 story collection Big Picture) and a New American Writing Award (for his 1990 novel Zulus). His stories have been included in the Pushcart Prize anthology and Best American Short Stories. He has served as a judge for, among others, the 1997 National Book Award for fiction and the PEN/ Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1991. He teaches fiction writing, American studies, and critical theory, and he has taught at Bennington College, the University of Wyoming, and the University of California at Riverside. He is currently at the University of Southern California. He has worked as a musician, a ranch hand, and a high school teacher.
WINNER OF THE 2020 IPPY AWARD IN MOST ORIGINAL CONCEPT
Percival Everett’s The Book of Training by Colonel Hap Thompson of Roanoke, VA, 1843, Annotated From the Library of John C. Calhoun, is poetry within the harsh confines of a mock historical document, a guidebook for the American slave owner. The collection features lists of instructions for buying, training, and punishing, equations for calculating present and future profits, and handwritten annotations affirming the brutal contents. The Book of Training lays bare the mechanics of the peculiar institution of slavery and challenges readers to place themselves in the uncomfortable vantage point of those who have bought and enslaved human beings.
“. . . Artful and literate, Everett explores the philosophical, the metaphysical, the physical and the psychological boundaries of human life . . .” —Terry D Auray
“. . . Everett achieves a primal sense of dislocation, forcing us to question how we determine the limits of the human . . .” —Sven Birkets, The New York Times
“. . . The audacious, uncategorizable Everett. He mixes genre and tone with absolute abandon, never does the same song twice. Brilliant . . .” —The Boston Globe
“. . . An author who dances with language as effortlessly as Fred Astaire.” —Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael
These poems question the sounds that are meaning. They interrogate where meaning resides and whether they are in any way, rigidly or loosely, wed to the words that carry it. There is a nod toward logic and at once an acceptance of its limits. These poems are landscapes, the meaning altering with the movement of clouds, with the changing light. Irony sometimes is the way we can be earnest.
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.