We're on: A June Jordan Reader (Paperback)

A June Jordan Reader

By June Jordan, Christoph Keller, Jan Heller Levi

Alice James Books, 9781938584350, 500pp.

Publication Date: September 19, 2017



"June Jordan was not the blacksmith's daughter. June Jordan was the blacksmith. . . . She never waited around, not for anyone's permission, to write or act or be. . . . For this book to have its birth now, in the lopsided moment when we need it most, is no chance occurrence. This great woman blacksmith is still sweetly hammering us on." --Nikky Finney

Poet, activist, and essayist June Jordan is a prolific, significant American writer who pushed the limits of political vision and moral witness, traversing a career of over forty years. With poetry, prose, letters, and more, this reader is a key resource for understanding the scope, complexity, and novelty of this pioneering Black American writer.

From "Poem about Police Violence":

Tell me something
what you think would happen if
everytime they kill a black boy
then we kill a cop
everytime they kill a black man
then we kill a cop
you think the accident rate would lower

. . .

I lose consciousness of ugly bestial rabid
and repetitive affront as when they tell me
18 cops in order to subdue one man
18 strangled him to death in the ensuing scuffle (don't
you idolize the diction of the powerful: subdue and
scuffle my oh my) and that the murder
that the killing of Arthur Miller on a Brooklyn
street was just a "justifiable accident" again

People been having accidents all over the globe
so long like that I reckon that the only
suitable insurance is a gun

About the Author

June Jordan (1936 - 2002) was a poet, activist, journalist, essayist and teacher. Prolific and passionate, she was an influential voice who lived and wrote on the frontlines of American poetry, international political vision and human moral witness. The author of many award-winning books, she traveled widely to read her poems and to proclaim a vision of liberation for all people. Dynamic, rebellious, and courageous, June Jordan was, and still is, a lyrical catalyst for change. Christoph Keller, born in 1963 and raised in Switzerland, and now living in New York, is the author of numerous prize-winning novels, plays and essays in German, including Gulp (1988); I'd Like My Country Flat (Ich hatte das Land gern flach, 1996), for which he won the International Lake Constance Prize; and the Swiss best-selling memoir The Best Dancer (Der Beste Tanzer, 2003), which won the Zurich Kantonalbank Schiller Prize and the Puchheim Readers' Prize. His work as a playwright has also been acclaimed, with productions mounted in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. Since 2003, Keller's stories in English appeared in The Paris Review, BOMB, The Means, and Quadrant, among other literary journals. Jan Heller Levi's first collection of poems, Once I Gazed at You in Wonder, won the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and poems from her second collection, Skyspeak, won The Emily Dickinson Award of the Poetry Society of America. She is the editor of A Muriel Rukeyser Reader, served as consulting editor for the new edition of The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser, and is currently writing the biography of Rukeyser. She is also co-editor, with Sara Miles, of Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan. She lives in New York City with her husband, the Swiss novelist and playwright Christoph Keller, and teaches at Hunter College