The Fire This Time: A Trib­ute to James Bald­win with Amy Bloom, Nikky Fin­ney, Ran­dall Ke­nan and Kevin Young

Pasatiempo - - Mixed Media -


Not ev­ery­thing that is faced can be changed, but noth­ing can be changed un­til it is faced.

—James Bald­win

James Bald­win (1924–1987), the great Amer­i­can nov­el­ist, poet, es­say­ist, play­wright and so­cial critic, is cel­e­brated in an evening of read­ings by po­ets and writ­ers Amy Bloom, Nikky Fin­ney, Ran­dall Ke­nan and Kevin Young.

Amy Bloom is the au­thor of three story col­lec­tions and two nov­els, in­clud­ing the re­cent, Lucky Us of which The New York Times said, “She writes sharp, sparsely beau­ti­ful scenes that ex­cit­ingly defy ex­pec­ta­tion, and part of the plea­sure of read­ing her is sim­ply keep­ing up with her.”

Nikky Fin­ney is the au­thor of four books of po­etry and a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries. Born in South Carolina to ac­tivist par­ents, Fin­ney came of age dur­ing the Civil Rights and Black Arts Move­ments, not­ing, “I’ve never been far away from the hu­man-rights strug­gle black peo­ple have been in­volved with in the South. That has been one of the back­drops of my en­tire life.”

Ran­dall Ke­nan is the au­thor of the novel A Visi­ta­tion of Spir­its and the story col­lec­tion Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. His other books in­clude Walk­ing on Wa­ter: Black Amer­i­can

Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Cen­tury and The Fire This Time, a com­bi­na­tion of mem­oir and es­says in which the au­thor asks how far have we come since Bald­win’s piv­otal ex­am­i­na­tion of our “racial night­mare” of the 1960s.

Kevin Young of­ten finds mean­ing and in­spi­ra­tion for his po­etry in African Amer­i­can mu­sic, par­tic­u­larly the blues. His pub­li­ca­tions in­clude Ar­dency: A Chron­i­cle of the Amis­tad Rebels and his re­cent po­etry col­lec­tion, Book of Hours, a work of both grief and birth. His book The Grey Al­bum: On the Black­ness of Black­ness com­bines es­say, cul­tural crit­i­cism, and lyri­cal cho­rus to il­lus­trate ways African Amer­i­can cul­ture is Amer­i­can cul­ture.

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