by Erica Hunt
Erica Hunt is a young African-American author whose first book of writings has long been awaited by her peers--members of progressive political movements and other poets. Work in periodicals has fed the growing clamor for thisbook. Local History, written almost entirely in prose, has tapped thewarp and woof of the poetic line for its telling. And tell it does! She has elected the word to represent social events, and chosen politica lrealities as that stone against which words might sharpen themselves. The caustic in her voice is medicine not poison; and as we read we know thatwe in every way deserve our part of it. This present catches up the future. Erica lives in New York City where she makes a living by confronting and changing some of the recalcitrant social conditions of theAfrican-American place and time. This commitment is evidenced in Local History, as the title itself implies. The book is itself part of the solutions she has demanded in her progressive political action.Local History is a mosaic of those of her writings which she chose to maintain. Its mostly-prose sections are organized in a way that invites reading, and not perusal. One moves through it much as one would through a novel, its sections more chapters than not.
Harryette Mullen writes that "Erica Hunt's Local History blows the public and the personal inside out, estranging familiar forms of writing, letter and diary, while snatching moments of intimacy and insight in disembodied prose that anatomizes artifacts of mass culture, such as screenplay andcartoon strip."
Publication date: January 1994
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