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Mule & Pear
Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Green Rose Series

New Issues Poetry & Prose
2011 • 97 pp. 6 x 9 3/4"

$15.00 Paperback, 978-1-936970-01-8

“The poems give voice to a cross-generational dialogue that includes protagonists from American classics like Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929), Jones’s Eva’s Man (1976), Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (1982... [continued in Reviews below]”—Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Cerise Press

These poems speak to us with voices borrowed from the pages of novels of Alice Walker, Jean Toomer, and Toni Morrison—voices that still have more to say, things to discuss. Each struggles beneath a yoke of dreaming, loving, and suffering. These characters converse not just with the reader but also with each other, talking amongst themselves, offering up their secrets and hard-won words of wisdom, an everlasting conversation through which these poems voice a shared human experience.

Reviews / Endorsements

“The poems give voice to a cross-generational dialogue that includes protagonists from American classics like Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929), Jones’s Eva’s Man (1976), Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (1982), Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970), as well as from lesser-known American texts like Valerie Martin’s historical novel Property (2004), and contemporary African classics-in-process like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (2006). Yet while Griffiths’s focus is on the most poignant, memorable and troubling characters of black women’s fiction, black female characters from male-authored works like Jean Toomer’s hybrid New Negro text Cane (1923), and August Wilson’s play Two Trains Running (1992), as well as voices from Adrienne Kennedy’s play Funnyhouse of a Negro (1964) and Nina Simone’s classic 1966 song “Four Women” share the pages of Mule & Pear with foremothers of the black female novel.

Plucking chords from each of these voices, Griffiths orchestrates collaborative testimonials and incisive debates about the most pressing issues facing black women’s writing and black women’s lives.....The want you feel at the end of Mule & Pear is just the kind of want you hope for in turning the last page of a good book. It’s the wish that the voices you have been sitting with will not leave, the promise that the conversation will continue.”—Mecca Jamilah Sullivan,
Cerise Press

“'How dare the dead things return?' and 'How did I end up/being a ghost of every/nothing?' asks Rachel Eliza Griffiths in this haunting debut. Smart, nuanced, lush in their beauty, yet never unaware of beauty’s price, the poems in Mule & Pear meditate on what to do with the ghosts of history by which, as if inevitably, we find ourselves now shaped, now cornered, and now inhabited—each of us, then, an unwitting vessel made to carry the past forward. Griffiths is a master at capturing persona, and uses that gift, especially, to consider the notion of heritage—how much is inherited, how much is imposed? How much of what we believe is what we’re told is true? The ambition of these poems dazzles, as does indeed their achievement.”—Carl Phillips


Winner of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s Literary Award (2012)

RACHEL ELIZA GRIFFITHS is the author of Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books) and The Requited Distance (Sheep Meadow Press). She received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and her M.A. in English Literature from the University of Delaware. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Indiana Review, RATTLE, Brilliant Corners, Puerto Del Sol, and many other journals. A Cave Canem Fellow, she is the recipient of fellowships from Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Vermont Studio Center, New York State Summer Writers Institute, the Cave Canem Foundation and others. A photographer and painter, her visual work has been published widely in both national and international magazines and journals. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:36:14 -0500