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Broadside and UDM Presses publish new book on Broadside Legacy Poets

The UDM Press has published numerous books, including the new Broadside Poets collection. The press has also published textbooks written by UDM faculty, such as this one by Associate Professor of Political Science Victoria Mantzopoulos.

A Different Image: The Legacy of Broadside Press | An Anthology has been collaboratively published and released by Broadside Press and the University of Detroit Mercy Press. This new book features many of the early works of poets Gwendolyn Brooks, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, and Dudley Randall, Broadside's founder. Co-editors Gloria House, a Broadside poet and professor at Wayne State University and U of M Dearborn; Rosemary Weatherston, assistant professor of English at UDM and director of the Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture; and Albert M. Ward, a Broadside poet and a writer-in-residence at UDM, have included introductory essays that present the cultural and artistic contexts of each poet's contributions to the Black Arts and Black Consciousness movements. Also included with the book is an audio CD featuring selected readings from the poems.

"The purpose of A Different Image is to acquaint contemporary poets and students with the literary gold mine of their Broadside predecessors," says House, originator of the anthology project. “We hope it will be for them and others a source of inspiration for continued creativity and literary production.”

Publication of the book was made possible by grants from The McGregor Fund, which also supported University of Detroit Mercy in the establishment of the Center for Print Culture (2000), as well as from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Impact Foundation. The editors, authors, photographers, and many of the poets and their executors contributed their work and permissions without charge. "A Different Image has been a labor of love," says Weatherston, "It is a great privilege to have been invited by Broadside Press to work on this project. It truly reflects UDM's and Broadside's commitments to community and service."

To understand the significance of this book, one must understand the man behind Broadside, one of the most influential black authors of our time. By 1927, Dudley Felker Randall of Detroit had developed an interest in writing poetry and, at the age of 13, had submitted a poem to The Detroit Free Press for its "Young Poet's Page." He took first place, and continued to send the newspaper more of his work.

In 1949, Randall received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Wayne State University. He went on to receive his Master of Arts in Library Science (1951) from the University of Michigan. From 1952-53, Randall taught Library Science at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. He returned to Detroit in 1956 for a position at Wayne County Public Library until he became a librarian and poet-in-residence at the University of Detroit in 1969.

In 1965, Randall established his own publishing company, Broadside Press. The Press's first publication was a broadside of Randall's famous poem, "Ballad of Birmingham," on the bombing deaths of four little girls in a Birmingham church during the civil rights movement. In the decades following, Broadside Press grew into one of the world's finest literary collections, with over one hundred titles, most of which were poetry.

What made Broadside Press so significant was that it gave African American poets and writers the opportunity to have their work published during a time when major publishing houses did not take that work seriously. Today, under the stewardship of a board of directors, the Press continues its mission of publishing excellent writings by African Americans. 2005 will mark Broadside's forty-year anniversary.

Although Randall is now deceased, his gift for writing and his beloved spirit radiate throughout this book's collection of poems and essays. Many of his and other Broadside writers' works are housed in the Dudley Randall Archive Collection at the University of Detroit Mercy's McNichols Campus Library.

A Different Image: The Legacy of the Broadside Press | An Anthology (ISBN 0-911550-97-6) is $24.95. It can be purchased through Broadside Press, 313-896-8921, P.O. Box 04257, Detroit, MI 48204; at the University of Detroit Mercy Bookstore; and through the book's distributor, Wayne State University Press online at http://wsupress.wayne.edu/ or by telephone at 1-800-978-7323.

A book release party will take place Tuesday, December 7, 2004, from 7-9 p.m. at The Scarab Club, 217 Farnsworth, Detroit. The evening will include a brief presentation and reading, followed by a reception with refreshments and music. This event is free and open to the public.