From the author:
I wrote Sis Fuss from a true sense of frustration with the characterization of black men as criminals. I hated that men who had been to jail and prison were so demonized. I hated the invisibility of their persons and their stories. As a child I grew up listening to the men in my family spin their tales, use word play, and sing their stories. I hoped to capture their voices in Sis's being.
Sis is flawed, but in the end he is worthy of love and of being wanted.
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Orange Monkey Publishing (2013)
Sis Fuss is a novel in verse about a man named Sis who has just been released from prison. We follow Sis as he reflects on life on the "outside" and desperately tries to reconnect with family.
Sis Fuss Smarting Up
Sis Fuss liked to dress. He liked
the pants going up and way the shirt,
ironed warm rode slow up his chest.
Made him feel like a woman
him, using him to rest her messy
head. Sis liked to look good, to wear
black hats to step outside in hard
pointing shoes, shined, cloth cut
in square shapes that defined
a big bodied man. A
nigga in a suit, Sis
might say, leering
at the mirror, because
even though the silk felt
good it would not stop
his fingers from snagging
on the four strings, as he turned
and turned and flexed.
By Christian Readeron April 5, 2013
I truly enjoyed the collection of poems of Nikia Chaney. The author has come to the heart of the character and embodied him in an engaging poetic style.
Norris and contributors (academics, authors, poets, editors, musicians, and a lawyer) broaden the definition of urban literature while drawing a distinction between African American and hip-hop literature and emphasizing the differences between classic African American literature and street literature. This title offers a course in the genre in 16 signed essays with references and bibliographies; six poems by Tristan Acker, Debra Busman, Sterling Warner, Arisa White, and Juan Delgado; and interviews with authors Lynel Gardner, David Bradley, and Ethan Iverson. The poems are each one to two pages long, the essays four to 18 pages, and the interviews two to 16. A few black-and-white photos appear in Ana Lúcia Souza and Jacqueline Lima Santos’s essay on Brazilian hip-hop. A cumulative bibliography and detailed index round out the presentation. VERDICT Since it is a relatively new literary genre, little expository material has been published on urban or street literature, making this affordable title of interest to literature students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. (Library Journal)
Norris provides an introductory survey of the new, fast growing genre of street lit—also referred to as urban fiction, hip-hop lit, and gangsta lit. It is made up of edgy stories focusing on personal relationships and survival of the fittest. In this volume Norris provides readers with articles, essays, interviews, and poems that capture the spirit of this edgy literature. Making its appearance in the 1950, the genre draws readers who tend to be young, African American, and female. Urban fiction is characterized by stories of life on the streets and in the projects using brutal descriptions of drugs, violence, sex, abuse, and prison. The work begins with an introduction that explores the roots of this literature and provides insight into how it captures today’s culture in much the same way that hip-hop music does for the music industry. The author provides critical discussions of works by Goines, Japer, and Whitehead, and gives interviews with such literary icons as David Bradley, Gerald Early, and Lynel Gardner. Norris helps scholars, avid readers, and librarians understand the significance of this sometimes controversial but up-and-coming form of literature. (American Reference Books Annual)
The foreword alone, by Omar Tyree, makes this book a must for fans both 'true to the game' (as streetlit vernacular would state) of the genre and 'new to the game' alike. Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape serves as a history lesson of the genre in its various forms, tracing the trajectory of slave narratives from the Donald Goines and Iceburg Slim era to the days of Flyy Girl (1993) and The Coldest Winter Ever (1999) to today’s vociferous offerings from the powerhouse urban-literature publishers Triple Crown and Urban Books.The book is made up of essays deftly divided into three sections that invite discussion and reflection: 'Street Literature in America, Past and Present'; 'Early Street Lit, 1950s–1970s'; and 'Contemporary Street Lit, 1990s and 2000s.' These essays take a hard, honest look at the way street lit is marketed, packaged, promoted, and perceived by its intended audience and by those on the outside looking in on a slice of modern street life. The book includes an index as well as an extensive bibliography of articles and accessible book lists of notable works that best represent this popular genre. Although the content is aimed at an academic library audience, this would make a good choice for public library literary criticism shelves, and librarians interested in developing street-lit collections will want to add this title to their professional reading lists. (Booklist)
Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
Editor: Keenan Norris
“First… there is a young, mass, black reading audience of such size that a black author can write for it exclusively without giving a thought to being highbrow or literary or to crossing-over for whites. Second, the taste of the masses is distinct from, and troubling to, the taste of the elite in large measure because the elite no longer control the direction and purpose of African-American literature; it is now, more than ever, a market-driven literature, rather than an art form patronized and promoted by cultured whites and blacks as it had been in the past. The fact that blacks started two of the publishing houses for these books, Urban Books and Triple Crown, underscores the entrepreneurial, populist nature of this type of race literature: by black people for black people.”--Gerald Early, “What is African-American Literature?”
“Mainstream publishing houses contort themselves to acquire books that glorify wanton sex, drugs and crime. This fiction, known as street-lit or hip-hop fiction, most often reinforces the stereotypical trademarks African Americans have fought hard to overcome.“—Bernice
McFadden, “Black Writers in a Ghetto of the Publishing Industry’s Making”
You already know the topic and the controversy. We want to go deeper.
Our anthology will assemble a collection of scholarly essays, articles, and interviews about street lit. We seek to build upon the short-form commentaries of Gerald Early, Bernice McFadden, Karen Grigsby-Bates, Kristina Graaff, Mark Reynolds and others, and present a wide-ranging exploration of the topic.
This essay collection goes into more extensive and diverse detail than any critical work on the subject has thus far. Not only will we give voice to the competing sides in the debate around street lit’s artistic validity, but the collection also chronicles street lit’s history as a sub-genre within African-American letters about urban spaces dating back decades, the mechanics of its commercial emergence in the 1990s, and its contribution to current understandings of mass incarceration, poverty and violence in America.
Contributors include NAACP Image Award winner Omar Tyree, National Book Award winner Gerald Early, PEN/Faulkner winner David Bradley, NAACP Image Award, Phillis Wheatley Award and California Book Award nominee Arisa White, Cave Canem fellow Nikia Chaney, Harvard W.E.B. DuBois fellow Jaqueline Lima Santos and fellow Brazilian scholar Ana Lucia Silva Souza, UC Berkeley visiting scholar Bonnie Rhee Andreyeyev, University of Alabama doctoral candidate Kemeshia Randle, Texas Southern faculty Kimberly Fain, University of the District of Columbia’s Dr. Cherrie Ann Turpin, Howard University faculty Dennis Winston, poet Juan Delgado (CSU San Bernardino), novelist deb busman (CSU Monterey), African-American literature instructor Alexandria White, San Jose City College professor and UC Davis doctoral candidate Khalid White and actor/activist Lynel Gardner, among others.
Paperback: 122 pages
Publisher: Jamii Publishing (2014)
Edited by Nikia Chaney
Verse/Chorus is a diverse collection of literature written in response to African American history. Coming out of a workshop tradition, this anthology features the work of 27 contributors who wrote poems, stories, and essays about and for African American historical figures. Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Langston Hughes, Son House, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marvin Gaye, and many other great men and women are celebrated in this volume as the contributors "respond" to their works, lives, loves, pain, and joy. Listen to chorus singing, listen to them calling, and respond...