lost in language & sound or how i found my way to the arts:essays

Ntozake Shange

St. Martin's Press

031220616X

9780312206161

Hardcover

160 Pages

$22.99

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In this deeply personal book, the celebrated writer reflects on what it means to be an artist, a woman, and a woman of color through a beautiful combination of memoir and essay. She describes where her love for creative forces began--in her childhood home, a place where imagination reigned and boredom wasn't allowed. The essays tell stories ranging from the poignant origin of her celebrated play "for colored girls" to why Shange needed to deconstruct the English language to make that production work, from the intensity of the female experience and the black experience as separate entities to the difficulty of living both lives simultaneously; from the intense love of jazz bestowed on her by her father to a similar obsession with dance, which came from her mother. With deep sincerity, attention, and her legendary candor, Shange's collection progresses from the public arena to the private, gathering along the way the passions and insights of an author who writes with “such exquisite care and beauty that anybody can relate to her message” (Clive Barnes, The New York Times).

REVIEWS

Praise for lost in language & sound

"[Shange] is a superb storyteller who keeps her eye on what brings her characters together rather than what separates them: courage and love, innocence and the loss of it, home and homelessness. [She] understands backyards, houses, schools, and churches . . . Readers of Miss Shange's poetry Iready know that she has an extraordinary ear for the spoken word."—The New York Times Book Review

"Exuberantly engaging."—Los Angeles Times

"A marvel . . . Languages—colloquial, established, lyric—play together like the most lush chamber music, the coolest jazz, the brassiest marches, the hippest jug band . . . It leaves us filled with joy and yearning for more."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"[Shange] can conjure, as if by magic . . . like an enchanting melody."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"If there's another writer in America who can write prose like this—with this sort of intricate layering of linguistic play—I wish someone would direct me to them . . . If Shelley were reborn as a black woman in the mid-20th century, maybe he would write like this . . . Shange roars with pure literary fire."—The San Francisco Chronicle
 
"The energy of Ntozake Shange’s writing is often spellbinding . . . lost in language & sound is an enthralling look into the engaged life and mind of a huge-hearted storyteller."—The Dallas Morning News
 
"The raw power of her writing, from the subject matter to her unconventional punctuation, aligns perfectly with the crescendo of for colored girls’s success . . . This is a profoundly personal yet all-encompassing exploration of words, movement, and the state of race in America."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
"Emotional, grateful and often wise."—Kirkus Reviews

In the Press

LOST IN LANGUAGE AND SOUND by Ntozake Shange | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of LOST IN LANGUAGE AND SOUND A Memoir of Coming to the Arts. Acclaimed playwright Shange (<em>Ellington Was Not a Street<em>, 2004, etc.) offers a collection of personal essays dealing with anger, pride, creativity, family, identity, mental health and love.
Nonfiction Review: Lost in Language & Sound: A Memoir of Coming to the Arts by Ntozake Shange. St. Martin's, $26.50 (160p) ISBN 978-0-312-20616-1
Award-winning poet, playwright, and novelist Shange (Betsey Brown) immerses the reader in the written and spoken fabric of her upbringing and her life as an artist in this evocative melding of essay a

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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NTOZAKE SHANGE is a renowned novelist, playwright, and poet. Her works include the Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, and the novels Betsey Brown, Liliane, Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, and Some Sing, Some Cry, which she co-authored with her sister, Ifa Bayeza. Among her honors and awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Brooklyn.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Ntozake Shange

  • Ntozake Shange is a renowned novelist, playwright, and poet. Her works include the Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, and the novels Betsey Brown, Liliane, Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, and Some Sing, Some Cry, which she co-authored with her sister, Ifa Bayeza. Among her honors and awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Brooklyn.
  • Ntozake Shange
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