Modern Language Association presents prestigious prize to Anthony Reed for his book ‘Freedom Time’
The Modern Language Association of America (MLA) has awarded its 14th annual William Sanders Scarborough Prize to Yale faculty member Anthony Reed for his book “Freedom Time: The Poetics and Politics of Black Experimental Writing,” published by Johns Hopkins University Press. The prize is awarded for an outstanding scholarly study of African American literature or culture.
The prize is one of 15 awards that will be presented on Jan. 9 during the MLA’s annual convention in Austin, Texas. The members of the selection committee were David Ikard (University of Miami), Gene Andrew Jarrett (Boston University); and Magdalena J. Zaborowska (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor), chair. The committee’s citation for the winning book reads:
“Intellectually sharp, deeply insightful, and eloquently rendered, Anthony Reed’s ‘Freedom Time: The Poetics and Politics of Black Experimental Writing’ challenges us to radically unlearn what we know about the power, ambitions, and goals of black experimental writing from the 1960s to the present day. Rethinking black experimental writing as myopically reactionary and political, Reed shows the extent to which the work is visionary and expansive beyond the limits of challenging established Eurocentric poetic forms and aesthetic values. Indeed, he demonstrates how that kind of writing has radically transformed such forms and values and, by extension, revolutionized our very notions of race, freedom, liberty, beauty, love, and democratic possibilities.”
Reed is an associate professor of English and African American studies at Yale. His primary interests include the intersections of literature and politics across the African diaspora, and his scholarship and poetry have appeared in such journals as Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, African American Review, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society. He is currently at work on a new book that considers recorded collaborations between poets and musicians. Emphasizing institutions, this project aims to join ongoing conversations about the Black Arts movement in the United States and elsewhere while offering a new framework through which to think the importance of sound as black literary and cultural practice.
Founded in 1883, the MLA and its nearly 26,000 members in 100 countries work to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literature. Its publications program has been hailed as one of the finest in the humanities, producing a variety of publications for language and literature professionals and for the general public.
The William Sanders Scarborough Prize was established in 2001 and named for the first African American member of the MLA.