a half-red sea
a half-red sea
Published: August 2006
In a half-red sea, Evie Shockley is 'dreaming the lives of the ancestors.' Navigating against prevailing currents, these poems sail on eddy and backflow, taking inspiration from knots and twists of American history and culture. Whether improvising between the lines of a slave narrative in 'henry bibb considers love and livery,' amplifying Lady Day's most devastating blues in 'you can say that again, billie,' or going freestyle with 'double bop for ntozake shange,' Shockley's imagination travels every which away. In 'a thousand words' and other reflections on contemporary events, Shockley's firm grounding in history adds weight and depth to her observations of the recent past and present. —Harryette Mullen, Advance Reader
Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, poet Evie Shockley earned a BA at Northwestern University, a JD at the University of Michigan, and a PhD in English literature at Duke University. The author of several collections of poetry, including a half-red sea (2006) and the new black (2011), Shockley is also the author of the critical volume Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (2011). Her poetry and essays have been featured in several anthologies, including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (2009), Poets on Teaching: A Sourcebook (2010), A Broken Thing: Contemporary Poets on the Line (2011), and Contemporary African American Literature: The Living Canon (2013).