Hebru Brantley, Untitled: Negro Mythes Series, 2014, Oil on canvas, 85 ⅘ x 114 ⅕. Image via haymarketbooks.org.
The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop
Edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana and Nate Marshall
Publication date: April 7, 2015
Hip-Hop is the largest youth culture in the history of the planet rock. It has produced generations of artists who have revolutionized their genre(s) by applying the aesthetic innovations of the culture. The BreakBeat Poets features 78 poets, born somewhere between 1961-1999, All-City and Coast-to-Coast, who are creating the next and now movement(s) in American letters. This is the first poetry anthology by and for the Hip-Hop generation. It is for people who love Hip-Hop, for fans of the culture, for people who've never read a poem, for people who thought poems were only something done by dead white dudes who got lost in a forest, and for poetry heads. This anthology is meant to expand the idea of who a poet is and what a poem is for.
The BreakBeat Poets are the scribes recording and remixing a fuller spectrum of experience of what it means to be alive in this moment.The BreakBeat Poets are a break with the past and an honoring of the tradition(s), an undeniable body expanding the canon for the fresher.
ABOUT THE EDITORS
Kevin Coval is the author of Schtick, L-vis Lives: Racemusic Poems, Everyday People and the American Library Association “Book of the Year” Finalist Slingshots: A Hip-Hop Poetica. He is the founder of Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, Artistic Director at Young Chicago Authors, and teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Quraysh Ali Lansana is the author of eight poetry books, three textbooks, a children's book, editor of eight anthologies, and coauthor of a book of pedagogy. He is a faculty member of the Creative Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute and the Red Earth MFA Creative Writing Program at Oklahoma City University. He is also a former faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School. Lansana served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002-2011, where he was also Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing. Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. His most recent books include The Walmart Republic with Christopher Stewart (Mongrel Empire Press, September 2014) and reluctant minivan (Living Arts Press, May 2014).
Nate Marshall is the author of Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press 2015). He won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize and served as a Zell Postgraduate Fellow at the University of Michigan. A Cave Canem Fellow, Nate won the 2014 Hurston/Wright Founding Members Award and the 2013 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award. He is a founding member of the poetry collective Dark Noise. He is also a rapper.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Hebru Brantley breaks down the walls of cultural boundaries through his art. Inspired by his 1980’s Chicago upbringing, Brantley’s work touches on tough subjects in a way that may be easily digestible to the viewer, by telling his stories through youthful characters and their adventures. Brantley’s work can be described as pop infused contemporary art inspired by Japanese anime and the bold aesthetics of street art pioneers Jean Michel Basquiat, Kaws and Keith Haring. While spray paint is often at the forefront of his mixed-media illustrations, Brantley utilizes a plethora of mediums from oil, acrylic and watercolor to non-traditional mediums like coffee and tea.
Brantley is recognized internationally for his public works and solo shows and has collaborated artistically with manufacturer brands Nike, Hublot and Adidas. He has a B.A. in film from Clark Atlanta University, and has a background in design and media illustration.