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Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction Of Henry Dumas by Henry Dumas. Minneapolis. 2003. Coffee House Press. paperback. 388 pages.  Cover design by Aaron King. Edited & With A Foreword by Eugene Redmond. Critical Introduction by John S. Wright. 1566891493.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

1566891493   Henry Dumas’s fabulist fiction is a masterful synthesis of myth and religion, culture and nature, mask and identity. From the Deep South to the simmering streets of Harlem, his characters embark on real, magical, and mythic quests. With an astonishing ear for language, Dumas creates a mythology of the psychological, spiritual, and political development of African American culture by interweaving Christian metaphor, African cosmologies, music, black diasporan folklore, and America’s history of slavery and endemic racism. For the first time, all of his short fiction is gathered here, including several previously unpublished stories. ‘[Henry Dumas] had completed work, the quality and quantity of which are almost never achieved in several lifetimes.  He was brilliant.  [He] was able to penetrate, almost like an archeologist, [the] varied experiences of black people of all ages.’ – Toni Morrison. ‘Each sentence a revelation of experience.  [A]ctual black art, real, man, and stunning.’ – Amiri Baraka. ‘Henry Dumas’s.  fiction is among the most significant produced by a writer of any race in this country in the 1960s.  [H]is reputation and standing among American writers and critics [approaches] mythic proportions.’ – Quincy Troupe. ‘The first time I read Henry Dumas’s Ark of Bones, I felt the hair rising on my head.’ – Margaret Walker Alexander.

 

 

Dumas Henry  HENRY DUMAS, a prize-winning writer, was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, on July 20, 1934, and moved to New York City when he was ten years old. His life was ended abruptly on May 23, 1968, by bullets from the gun of a New York Transit policeman in the subway. Reasons for the killing have remained vague and unsatisfactory. Before his death Dumas had been active on the ‘little’ magazine circuit as well as in the initial opening scene of the Black Arts Movement, publishing his stories and poems in Negro Digest/Black World, Rutgers’ Anthologist, the Hiram Poetry Review, Umbra and Black Fire. Since his death his reputation and writings have attracted a large and international community of readers. On the heels of the publication of ARK OF BONES AND OTHER STORIES and PLAY EBONY PLAY IVORY, writers, artists and students gathered in several largely Black areas of the country to read from the works and proclaim the genius of Dumas. Among the anthologies and periodicals which have printed his work since his death are: Black Scholar, Essence, Brothers and Sisters, Confrontation, Galaxy of Black Writing, You Better Believe it, Open Poetry and Giant Talk: An Anthology of Third World Writings. Just before his death, Dumas was employed by Southern Illinois University’s Experiment in Higher Education in East St. Louis.

 

 

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