1st Edition

First of the Year: 2009 Volume II

Edited By Benj DeMott Copyright 2010
    316 Pages
    by Routledge

    307 Pages
    by Routledge

    This is the second volume in the First of the Year Series. Contributors like Armond White, Philip Levine, Donna Gaines, Lawrence Goodwyn, Irving Louis Horowitz, Charles O'Brien, Fredric Smoler, Paul Berman, and Amiri Baraka are back (and blazing). And there are important new voices in the First mix, such as Vincent Harding, Roxane Johnson, and Bob Levin. If there is a leitmotif to this edition, it is the election and inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African-American president. First aims to be up to the minute of this moment.

    As Benj DeMott notes "a glance at this volume confirms the margin is still the center for us." And that margin stretches from Harlem to the world. There are tales of edgy sojourns in Afghanistan, Thailand, and South Africa. The volume also has a Question & Answer with Ousmane Sembi, who taught Africans to resist "elements of received culture-those fixed rules and values which nobody but those on the margins dare to question." A second interview with Adam Hochschild celebrates the Englishman who invented abolition, and an African-American original who coined the phrase "crimes against humanity."

    The volume includes a protest against the Israeli war machine by Uri Avnery who has long been a creative outsider in his own society. It makes the case that American ideologues (on both extremes) keep getting the Middle East wrong because they cannot grasp the complexities of any country, including their own. First of the Year's minority angles of vision will help readers see with new eyes. It will help their hearing too. The volume has plenty of music writing marked by loving attention to details of pop performances. In short, this collection reflects its editor; direct, unafraid, urban, and entirely contemporary.

    Part I: Home Is Where We StartDennis Myers ? Winter LightIrving Louis Horowitz ? A Child's Vision of the Great DepressionRoxane Beth Johnson ? The Prose of the WorldTom DeMott ? Manilow or MonkJudy Oppenheimer ? Showing OutMark Rudd ? Something About CompassionBenj DeMott ? Between Two SmilesUri Avnery ? The Boss Has Gone MadPaul Berman ? Rational ExuberanceFredric Smoler ? Two NationsMike Rose ? Everyday People in Never-Never LandNatalie Estrellita ? Anguish As A Second LanguageNatalie Estrellita ? Touch MeAlison Stone ? The LoversBongani Madondo ? Makeba in MemoriamBen Kessler ? R. Kelly's Political GiftArmond White ? Springsteen's Magic RealismDavid Golding ? God Stretch America: James Baldwin & Barack ObamaBenjamin DeMott ? The Uses of James BaldwinSamba Gadjigo ? All Sweat: Ousmane Sembene on Art/LifeFirst of the Month ? Radical History ChannelI Had a Dream ? Joe Richey 96Judy Oppenheimer ? Tight Connection 101Part II: First Draft of History IIAmiri Baraka ? You Gotta MoveWesley Hogan ? Warm Regards & Power ChordsTy Geltmaker ? My February EpiphanyBenj DeMott ? Cross the Border, Close the GapBen Kessler ? Stuff White People LikeJudy Oppenheimer ? Orpheus DescendingStephan Talty ? Buffalo's Black and White BallMike Rose ? School's Out for the G.O.P.Judy Oppenheimer ? FeelingsWesley Hogan & Dirk Philipsen ? Notes from the State of VirginiaAmiri Baraka ? American JunkiesScott Spencer ? American Socialism 2.0Benj DeMott ? If Buddy Met PoppyDennis Myers ? Apocalypse Wow!Fredric Smoler ? Reality CheckDonna Gaines ? America AlcoholicaNatalie Estrellita ? Presidential HairTom Smucker ? Calvin and The RaptureDonna Gaines ? Living SoberAmiri Baraka ? We Are Already In The Future!Lawrence Goodwyn ? The Ground We Stand OnPart III: Guided TripsCharles O'Brien ? At Ease in AzaniaBongani Madondo ? South to a Very Old PlaceMichael Lydon ? A House of BooksBenj DeMott ? The Uses of Benjamin DeMottFredric Smoler ? Against the CurrentCharles O'Brien ? To Criticize the CriticBob Levin ? How I Became a Writer (Pt. 1)Philip Levine ? Shadow BoxingPeter Lamborn Wilson ? My Summer Vacation in AfghanistanNat Finkelstein ? Kandahar 1971Michael L. Schmicker ? Hem, Maugham and MeBruce Jackson ? David's ChoiceBob Levin ? Pariah-TimeArmond White ? Genius ? Not!Vincent G. Harding ? Midwiving a New AmericaPart IV: Last Call & ResponseCharles O'Brien ? Where Hope EndsRichard Torres ? WitnessContributors' Notes


    Benj DeMott