celebrating people of color in the arts

the art of the letter

In books on December 18, 2008 at 7:57 pm


When’s the last time you received a hand-written letter? Rare these days, isn’t it? To put pen to paper requires thought, intimacy, patience, reflection, and penmanship. The hand-written letter is increasingly becoming a lost art – soon we might only find them in dusty attics or museums enclosed in glass cases.

That’s probably one of the reasons why Pamela Newkirk finds the art of letter writing fascinating. Over coffee today, she handed me an advanced copy of her upcoming book, Letters from Black America (February, 2009) – a sequel to the previous collection, A Love No Less, Two Centuries of African-American Love Letters.

It’s an extensive collection with a diversity of letters penned by well-known politicians, artists, and entertainers, as well as the private correspondences of slaves, servicemen, and domestic workers. Of course, I’m very pleased to see a chapter dedicated to Art and Culture featuring letters from Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Claude McKay among other men and women of note.

– Grace A. Ali


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