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Foodways in Contemporary African American Poetry: Harryette Mullen and Evie Shockley

Foodways in Contemporary African American Poetry: Harryette Mullen and Evie Shockley COURTNEY THORSSON frican American cookbooks, poetry, and fiction use culinary language and the recipe form to theorize, describe, and demand specific practices of identity. Foodways--ways of doing culinary work and routes that foodstuffs travel--are a tool for formal innovation and thematic exploration of identity in African American literature from its beginnings to the present. In their poetry of the past few decades, Harryette Mullen and Evie Shockley use the recipe form and culinary discourse to write vernacular poetry without relying on the formal innovations of their predecessors. The insistent presence of culinary discourse and the recipe form in African American literature demands that scholars apply the same rigor to studying food that we have applied to studying music. Like jazz studies, food studies is beginning to serve as a lens that allows scholars to examine formal innovations in African American writing and expand our definition of what constitutes that tradition. Just as we have learned to identify Sterling Brown's use of work songs and Langston Hughes's use of the twelve-bar blues, we must learn to spot the recipe in Paul Laurence Dunbar's "Possum," make a diasporic journey through produce with Claude McKay's "The Tropics in New York," and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

Foodways in Contemporary African American Poetry: Harryette Mullen and Evie Shockley

Contemporary Literature , Volume 57 (2) – Sep 12, 2016

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin.
ISSN
1548-9949
Publisher site
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Abstract

COURTNEY THORSSON frican American cookbooks, poetry, and fiction use culinary language and the recipe form to theorize, describe, and demand specific practices of identity. Foodways--ways of doing culinary work and routes that foodstuffs travel--are a tool for formal innovation and thematic exploration of identity in African American literature from its beginnings to the present. In their poetry of the past few decades, Harryette Mullen and Evie Shockley use the recipe form and culinary discourse to write vernacular poetry without relying on the formal innovations of their predecessors. The insistent presence of culinary discourse and the recipe form in African American literature demands that scholars apply the same rigor to studying food that we have applied to studying music. Like jazz studies, food studies is beginning to serve as a lens that allows scholars to examine formal innovations in African American writing and expand our definition of what constitutes that tradition. Just as we have learned to identify Sterling Brown's use of work songs and Langston Hughes's use of the twelve-bar blues, we must learn to spot the recipe in Paul Laurence Dunbar's "Possum," make a diasporic journey through produce with Claude McKay's "The Tropics in New York," and

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Sep 12, 2016

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