Conversations with Sterling Plumpp

Edited By John Zheng

192 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, chronology, index

9781496807427 Printed casebinding $55.00S

Printed casebinding, $55.00


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"Yes. I'm directly influenced by blues performers and not record performance. You know, I spent fifty years of my life witnessing blues singers, and that's what I'm trying to capture."

Conversations with Sterling Plumpp is the first collection of interviews with the renowned poet of Home/ Bass and other much-admired works. Spanning thirty years and drawn from literary and scholarly journals and other media, these interviews offer insights into his poetic innovation of blues and jazz and his mastery of black vernacular in poetry. This collection seems fundamental to an understanding of the life and work of an African American poet who has been innovative in fusing blues and jazz rhythms with poetic insight and in vivifying the vernacular landscape of African American poetry.

Born in 1940 in Clinton, Mississippi, Plumpp has been living in Chicago since 1962. Home/Bass received the 2014 American Book Award. The finest blues poet of his generation, Plumpp became a model for contemporary poetry and poetics and a leading figure in the tradition of blues/jazz poetry. He continues to reinvent the language while exploring the registers of individual and communal memory, local, national, and global history. His poetry is important in attempts to define the black aesthetic from the era of the Harlem Renaissance to the seminal Black Arts Movement.

It is also important for its rearticulation of the Great Migration, especially expressed by blues musicians who left Mississippi for Chicago.

John Zheng, Greenwood, Mississippi, is professor of English at Mississippi Valley State University and editor of The Other World of Richard Wright: Perspectives on His Haiku and African American Haiku: Cultural Visions (both from University Press of Mississippi). His work has also been published in numerous journals including African American Review, East-West Connections, Journal of Ethnic American Literature, Paideuma, and Southern Quarterly.

192 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, chronology, index