A contemporary American masterpiece about music, race, an unforgettable man, and an unreal America during the Civil War era.
"[A] masterly new novel....[Song of the Shank is] the kind of imaginative work only a prodigiously gifted risk-taker could produce.
- The New York Times Book Review (front cover)
The world of Jeffery Renard Allen's stuning short-story collection is a place like no other. A recognizable city, certainly, but one in which a man might sprout wings or cooper pennies might fall from the skies onto your head . Yet these are no fairy tales. The hostility, the hurt, is all too human.
"Each tale is electric with the rising tension that proceeds stormy weather. . . . Allen's stories pull you down into the misery of the daily hustle and spit you out on the lonely crossroads between reality and myth, where the archetypes roam and trust is but a dream.
Collected poems of Jeffery Renard Allen.
"Allen fuses intellect with images. Our language sparkles in his hands. His poems are word sculptures on paper. Allen seems to be following the tradition of Robert Hayden, Sterling Brown and Melvin Tolson. It's the plac to be.
- E. Ethelbert Miller, African American Resource Center, Howard University
"Will put Allen in the company of writers such as James Joyce, August Wilson, and Ralph Ellison." -The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Big, ambitious, picaresque, and beautiful, a book that demands of the reader as much as it gives in return."
-San Francisco Chronicle.
Poet, novelist and critic, Jeffery Renard Allen brings a number of characteristics to his first collection of poems. He adapts jazz and blues forms to lyric poetry and uses a variety of cultural sources to draw together materials that exist in a shared mythology. The result has the directness of an African-American Homeric hymn. Rich in musicality, Allen's work offers an extra-ordinary breadth of reference and discovery.