Rainbow Darkness: An Anthology of African American Poetry gathers poems by a range of established and newer African American poets including Jeff Allen, Wanda Coleman, C. S. Giscombe, Terrance Hayes, Kim Hunter, Honorée Jeffers, Nathaniel Mackey, Harryette Mullen, Mendi Lewis Obadike, Reginald Shepherd, Timothy Siebles, Evie Shockley, Lorenzo Thomas, Natasha Trethewey, Anthony Walton, Crystal Williams, and Tyrone Williams, and essays by Herman Beavers, Aldon Nielsen, Kathy Lou Schultz, Evie Shockley, and Lorenzo Thomas.
The anthology grew from poems and talks presented at Marjorie Cook Conference on Diversity in African American Poetry held at Miami University in September 2003. The anthology hopes to extend the conversations that took place at the conference to another, larger audience.
Reviews & Such
“The poems and essays in Rainbow Darkness allow us to sample how diversity functions in contemporary African American poetry. The anthology urges us to ponder ‘diversity within diversity’ rather than binaries that castrate serious thought. The work of the poet, to echo Lorenzo Thomas’ plenary address, is to find ‘the words to go with the music.’ As one reads Rainbow Darkness, however, the sense that music is plural intensifies; now it is probable that musics seek poets who can best use words to lessen our existential wretchedness. For anyone who has a genuine interest in poetry, Rainbow Darkness provides some of the evidence required to understand the impact of multiple consciousness on the traditions of African American poetry.—Jerry W. Ward, Jr.
Editor of Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African American Poetry
“We who gathered at this conference, and you who read this anthology, have a richer, fuller sense of the vast possibilities of African American poetry, precisely because so many different voices were brought together. Potential cacophony, potential choir.”—Evie Shockley
Rainbow Darkness was reviewed by Maria Damon in the Winter 2006/2007 issue of Rain Taxi.