Keorapetse Kgositsile & the Black Arts Movement
Title Details

224 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

6 b/w illus.

Series: African Articulations

Series Vol. Number: 11

Imprint: James Currey

Keorapetse Kgositsile & the Black Arts Movement

Poetics of Possibility

by Uhuru Portia Phalafala

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Key study on writer and activist Kgositsile that presents a new approach to studying the radicalism of Africa and its diaspora and makes a major contribution to the histories of Black lives, gender studies, jazz studies, politics, and creativity.

The cultural configurations of the Black Atlantic cannot be fully understood without recognising the significant presence of writers and artists from the African continent itself. Among the most influential was South African poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile, or 'Bra Willie', as he was affectionately known. Yet, until now, there has been no full-length study of his work.

Uhuru Phalafala's wide-ranging book reveals the foundational influence of Kgositsile's mother and grandmother on his craft and unveils the importance of the oral/aural traditions, indigenous knowledge systems, and cosmologies he carried with him into and after exile. It illuminates a southern African modernity that was strongly gendered and deployed in anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, anti-apartheid, and civil rights struggles. Using the original concept of 'elsewhere', the author maps the sources of Kgositsile's transformative verse, which in turn generated 'poetics of possibility' for his contemporaries in the Black Arts and Black Power Movements and beyond - among them Maya Angelou, Larry Neal, Gwendolyn Brooks, Tom Dent, members of The Last Poets, Otabenga Jones & Associates, and rapper Earl Sweatshirt - who all looked to his work to model their identities, cultural movements and radical traditions.
1. Introduction: Elsewhere
2. A Writing Life - A Riting Life - A Rioting Life
3. Names: Mother What is my Name?
4. Songs: Native Sons Dancing Like Crazy
5. Spaces: 21st-century Suns/Sons Must Rise Again
6. Places: Black Conscious Ecologies of Futurity
7. Coda: Elsewhere-Space is the Here-Place

UHURU PORTIA PHALAFALA is a Senior Lecturer at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, author of the poetry collection Mine Mine Mine (2023), and co-editor of Keorapetse Kgositsile: Collected Poems 1969-2018 (2023).

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9781847012777

February 2024

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9781805431657

February 2024

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9781805431664

February 2024

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Title Details

224 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

6 b/w illus.

Series: African Articulations

Series Vol. Number: 11

Imprint: James Currey