Longlist, National Book Awards 2022 for Poetry

book cover for Quincy Troupe, Duende
ISBN 9781644210451
Seven Stories Press
author photo of poet Quincy Troupe (Photo credit: Chester Higgins)
Quincy Troupe

Born July 22, 1939, in St. Louis, Missouri, Quincy Troupe is an awarding-winning author of 12 volumes of poetry, three children’s books, and six nonfiction works. In 2010 Troupe received the American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

Quincy Troupe writes poetry in great waves. The words are just notes. It’s the music you make with them that matters. He’s not a wordsmith, he’s a shaman conjuring long repetitive lines, cadences of looking across the sea towards Africa and haunted by the legacy of slavery and racism, or of remembering fellow conjurers, poets and musical artists, celebrating, always celebrating, but never only that.

In the fifty-page, incantatory poem, “Ghost Voices,” there is a longing to be reconnected to the past, and a longing too to be free of it. In the short title poem, “Duende: For García Lorca and Miles Davis,” there lies, nakedly, Troupe’s credo: “…secrets, mystery infused in black magic / that enters bodies in forms of music, art/ poetry imbuing language with sovereignty / in blood spooling back through violent centuries…” The version of the great poem “Avalanche (number 3)” that appears here is different from the version of the same poem he published nearly 25 years ago–in exactly the same way that a jazz artist picks up his horn to play the same song a little differently every time.

Troupe is a generous and gregarious poet in this giant offering that includes many new poems, as well as a selection chosen from across his eleven previously published volumes. What’s remarkable is the constancy, the energy, and how he’s always looking right at you in the here and now, and at the same time sees something over your shoulder that others don’t see yet, maybe a distant storm gathering over the waters, something we’re going to need to rise up and face soon enough.