Let Spirit Speak!: Cultural Journeys through the African Diaspora, edited by Vanessa K. Valdés, is now available for purchase at SUNY Press and Amazon. The collection is an interdisciplinary celebration of cultural contributions of the African diaspora in the Western hemisphere, and it includes work by writers, critics, historians and poets. My essay, “A Prescription for Wholeness: Resisting the Discourse of Difficulty to Embrace Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters” is among the assembled company. It’s the third and final of my three essays on this amazing novel to appear this year, and I hope that you’ll be inspired to (re)read The Salt Eaters.
The book jacket of Valdés’ multi-lingual, multi-genre collection reads: “Beginning with the cries and prayers of Gina Athena Ulysse to the Haitian loa Erzulie in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, each writer in the collection engages in the recovering of the past, highlighting that which has been buried in the history of time. The contributors look at a wide range of artistic productions, from poetry and fiction, to art, music, and film, and martial arts produced in Cuba, Columbia, Brazil, Haiti, and the United States. Haitian Creole, Spanish, and English are brought together, giving the reader a vivid sense of the multiplicity of voices in the African diaspora. Rather than concentrate on the dispersion of peoples of African descent, this collection focuses instead on the multiple sites of origins in the Americas, as diasporic legacies are found throughout the continent.”