We Jews and Blacks

We Jews and Blacks

Memoir with Poems
Willis Barnstone, edited by With a Dialogue and Poems by Yusef Komunyakaa. Willis Barnstone
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 06/14/2004
ISBN: 978-0-253-11022-0
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Description

2005 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection

A central theme of this memoir by poet and translator Willis Barnstone is that of labels—names, ethnicities, all distinctions that cause suspicion, anger, and destruction. A fresh and significant contribution to American letters, We Jews and Blacks wrestles with problems of identity, difference, and the human condition. It is a dramatic, whimsical, and literary work that also contains a number of Barnstone’s poems, which offer a second view of an event, a crystallization of his thinking, both sorrowful and joyful. The book includes a dialogue with Yusef Komunyakaa and a small selection of his poems.

Author Bio

Willis Barnstone, distinguished poet and translator, is author of two other memoirs. He is perhaps best known for his translation of The Gnostic Bible. He lives in Oakland, California.

Yusef Komunyakaa is distinguished senior poet at New York University. He has received numerous awards, including the William Faulkner Prize (Université Rennes, France), the Ruth Lilly Prize for Poetry, and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His latest book is Gilgamesh, a verse play. He lives in New York City.

Reviews

““A work of profound intelligence and utter humanity; it is intensely engaging, exquisitely playful, unabashedly erudite without a trace of pretension, and radiant with love for fellow creatures.” —Andrei Codrescu “[A] moving, and at times astonishing, memoir . . . it sparkles and informs with intelligence and good intentions.” —Publishers Weekly A fresh and significant contribution to American letters, this book wrestles with problems of identity, difference, and the human condition.”

“Willis Barnstone's third book of memoirs begins with his childhood and ends with his brother's death in 1987. A central theme is labels-names, ethnicities, all distinctions that cause suspicion, anger, and destruction. A fresh and significant contribution to American letters that wrestles with problems of identity, difference, and the human condition, We Jews and Blacks, is dramatic, whimsical and literary. It contains a number of Barnstone's poems, which give a second view of an event, a crystallization of his thinking, both sorrowful and joyful. Barnstone also includes a dialogue with Yusef Komunyakaa and a small selection of Komunyakaa's Jewish Bible poems.”

“A work of profound intelligence and utter humanity; it is intensely engaging, exquisitely playful, unabashedly erudite without a trace of pretension, and radiant with love for fellow creatures.”
 — Andrei Codrescu

“A work of profound intelligence and utter humanity; it is intensely engaging, exquisitely playful, unabashedly erudite without a trace of pretension, and radiant with love for fellow creatures.”
 — Andrei Codrescu

“[A] moving, and at times astonishing, memoir . . . it sparkles and informs with intelligence and good intentions.”
 — Publishers Weekly

“[A] moving, and at times astonishing, memoir . . . it sparkles and informs with intelligence and good intentions. ”
 — Publishers Weekly

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Table of Contents

<FMO>Contents<\>
Acknowledgments
Verse 1 A Chat with the Reader
<INDENT>The Hell Face of Sacred Distinctions
<INDENT>The Plot
Verse 2 Jews and Blacks of Early Childhood
<INDENT>Swans over Manhattan
<INDENT>Anatole Broyard (1920<N>90), the Inventor
<INDENT>What Was a Jew?
<INDENT>Dad Grew Up in the Streets
<INDENT>Languages of the Jews
<INDENT>Spanish Jews
Verse 3 Jews and Blacks of Early Adolescence
<INDENT>"At the Red Sea," by Yusef Komunyakaa
<INDENT>Assimilation and Passing under the Shadow of War and Holocaust
<INDENT>Yehuda Maccabee and Hellenization of the Jews
<INDENT>Gnosticism and Other Heresies
<INDENT>A Summer Camp in Maine with the Scent of Palestine
<INDENT>Sammy Propp of the Black Shoes
<INDENT>Black People
<INDENT>Leah Scott
<INDENT>My Unseen Black Grand-Stepmother
<INDENT>Othello
<INDENT>Reading the Bible in Hebrew
<INDENT>Bar Mitzvah
<INDENT>"Othello's Rose," by Yosef Komunyakaa
Verse 4 Early Jewish Corruption and Bayard Rustin, the Black Nightingale
<INDENT>Early Corruption
<INDENT>Yeshua ben Yosef Passing as Jesus Christ
<INDENT>So Long, Sammy
<INDENT>Off to the Quakers
<INDENT>Bayard Rustin, the Black Nightingale Singing His People into the Heart of the Makers of the Underground Railroad
<INDENT>More Deadly Application Blanks
Verse 5 Jews and Blacks in College, and Freedom in Europe
<INDENT>Bowdoin College: The Jewish and Black Ghetto in Old Longfellow Hall
<INDENT>A Letter to The Nation
<INDENT>Coming Out of My Own Ghetto of Silences
<INDENT>Off to Europe, Where Old-Fashioned Bigotry Is Huge, yet Now Who Cares? Not Me
<INDENT>Changing Money on the Rue des Rosiers and Getting Married by the Grand Rabbi of Paris
Verse 6 Hav