Borrowing from Romare Bearden’s aesthetic palette and inspired by his Odysseus series, Bearden’s Odyssey gathers, for the first time, poems from thirty-five of the most revered African diaspora poets in the United States. Poetic echoes come forth in themes of inspiration with historical intersections of one of the greatest visual artists of the twentieth century.
The award-winning editors, Kwame Dawes and Matthew Shenoda, assemble an esteemed literary congregation, with original poems by Chris Abani, Rita Dove, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Ed Roberson, Aracelis Girmay, Yusef Komunyakaa, and more. With a powerful foreword by Nobel laureate Derek Walcott and stunning visual reproductions of select Bearden masterpieces, this anthology fuses art and literature, standing as a testament to Romare Bearden’s power and influence in the contemporary artistic world.
Introduction: Kwame Dawes & Matthew Shenoda
A. Van Jordan
Tracy K. Smith
Lyrae Van Clief Stefanon
Afaa Michael Weaver
Crystal Ann Williams
“When people talk of the great American artists I am irritated that they hardly mention Bearden. His name should be called along with people like Pollock—as he was clearly one of the greatest American artists of the twentieth century.”—Derek Walcott
“Bearden’s Odyssey is a powerful exercise in coherence—a bringing together of text and image, a negotiation of identities. The collection opens new paths by which to explore Bearden’s most emblematic paintings. It will bring new audiences to both poetry and visual art.”—Jennifer Benka, executive director, Academy of American Poets