There's a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters from a Crisis (Paperback)
This kaleidoscopic portrait of an unprecedented time brings together some of our most treasured writers today—Edwidge Danticat, Layli Long Soldier, Monica Youn, Julia Alvarez, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor—to give voice to the unthinkable grief and hopeful possibilities born in an era of revolution and change.
“A maelstrom of grief, anger, fear and confusion, with glimmers of gratitude and hope: a comprehensive emotional document of a moment.”—New York Times Book Review
Now is an extraordinary time. Across the country, people are losing their loved ones, their livelihoods, their homes, and even their own lives to COVID-19. Despite the pandemic, countless protests erupted this summer over the recurring loss of Black lives. Reverberations of shock and outrage remain with us all. There's a Revolution Outside, My Love captures and articulates all of these roiling sentiments unleashed by a profound national reckoning.
Drawing its title from a powerful letter to her son by Kirsten West Savali, the book fans out from there, offering a rich and intimate view of the change we underwent. Composed of searing letters, essays, poems, reflections, and screeds, There's a Revolution Outside, My Love highlights the work of some of our most powerful and insightful writers who hail from across a range of backgrounds and from almost all fifty states. Among them, these writers have brought home four Pulitzers, two National Book Awards, a fistful of Whitings, and numerous citations in best American poetry, short story, and essay compilations. They are noisy with beauty, and their pieces ring louder and clearer than ever before.
Galvanizing and lyrical, this is a deeply profound anthology of writing filled with pain and beauty, warmth and intimacy. A remarkable feat of empathy, There's a Revolution Outside, My Love offers solace in a time of swirling protest, change, and violence—reminding us of the human scale of the upheaval, and providing hope for a kinder future.
About the Author
TRACY K. SMITH is the author of four books of poetry, including Life on Mars, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Such Color: New and Selected Poems will be published in October. She is also the editor of an anthology, American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, and cotranslator (with Changtai Bi) of My Name Will Grow Wide Like a Tree: Selected Poems by Yi Lei. Smith’s memoir, Ordinary Light, was named a finalist for the National Book Award. From 2017 to 2019, Smith served two terms as the twenty-second Poet Laureate of the United States. She is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
JOHN FREEMAN is the founder of Freeman’s, the literary annual of new writing, and executive editor at Alfred A. Knopf. The author of five books, including The Park and Dictionary of the Undoing, he has edited several other anthologies including Tales of Two Americas, a book about inequality in America, and Tales of Two Planets, which examines the climate crisis globally. He teaches at NYU.
“These testimonials from professors, poets, novelists and activists are centered on last summer’s protests against the police killings of Black people, but they tie connective threads between many countries and their crises…Together this book is a maelstrom of grief, anger, fear and confusion, with glimmers of gratitude and hope: a comprehensive emotional document of a moment." —Sebastian Modak, The New York Times
“Angry, rueful, and defiant, the impressive roster of award-winning writers and academics portrays a nation wracked by pain…. An eloquent and urgent collection.” —Kirkus, starred review
“A potent and momentous in-the-moment response to an urgent and indelible time.” —Booklist
“Written from the inner chambers of the heart, resonating with the questions that keep us up at night, and offering the recognition and generosity…. This book is a promise, a solace, a sounding of our cries for justice and need for love. It’s nothing short of essential.” —Garnette Cadogan, Literary Hub
“Dynamic…captures the remarkable nature of the last year.” —Karla Strand, Ms. Magazine
“Revelatory collection of heartfelt reflections…Forty treasured poets, scholars, and essayists document their experience of international racial reawakening…and consider them alongside their survival of dueling pandemics, namely COVID-19 and systemic racism.” —Oprah Magazine, “The Best Books to Pick Up This May”
“This powerful, riveting collection gives us the community we have longed for during the past year, the connection we have missed. It tells us the truth; it tells us what it is like.” —The Minneapolis Star Tribune