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The House Where My Soul Lives: The Life of Margaret Walker
The House Where My Soul Lives: The Life of Margaret Walker by Maryemma Graham
by Maryemma Graham

Event with Maryemma Graham at Lemuria
Tuesday, April 11th at 5:00pm.
Co-hosted by The Margaret Walker Center

First Edition. Signed.

Price: $39.95

New York, NY: Oxford University Press (December 2022)

First Edition. Hardback.

New in dust jacket.

This first biography of poet and writer Margaret Walker (1915-98) offers a comprehensive close reading of a pillar in American culture for a majority of the 20th century. Without defining herself as a radical or even a feminist, Walker followed the precepts of both. She promoted the idea of the artist of tradition and social change, a public intellectual and an institution builder.

Among the first to recognize the impact of black women in literature, Walker became a chief architect of what many have called the new Black South Renaissance. Her art was influenced early by Langston Hughes, her political understanding of the world by Richard Wright. Walker expanded both into a comprehensive view on art and humanism, which became a national platform for the center she founded in Mississippi that now bears her name.

The House Where My Soul Lives provides a full account of Walker's life and new interpretations of her writings before and after the publication of her most well-known poem in the 1930s in Chicago. The book rejects the widely held view of Walker as the "angry black woman" and emphasizes what contemporary American culture owes to her decades of foundational work in what we know today as Black Studies, Women's Studies, and the Public Humanities. She was fierce in her claim to be "black, female and free" which gave her the authority to challenge all hierarchies, no matter at what cost.

Featuring 80 archival photos and documents and based on never before examined personal papers and interviews with those who knew Walker personally, this book is required reading for all readers of biographies of American writers.

Maryemma Graham is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Kansas.

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