Not many writers can say they’ve written a holy book, but five-time Disquiet faculty member Arthur Flowers’ latest, The Hoodoo Book of Flowers: The Great Black Book of Generations, is precisely that.
A truly incomparable work, HBOF weaves together fablistic retellings of classic African-American tales and anecdotes, homages to African-American literary griots that came before him, memoiristic ruminations on life and mission, and distillations of principles and beliefs that show the way forward. It is not hyperbole to say once again of the work of one of our faculty, that his is required reading for the moment. Available now in a limited edition hardcover from Burke’s Book Store in Memphis or on Kindle.
Flowers is a blues-based performance poet, novelist, and essayist, whose other recent works include a reimagining of the Brer Rabbit stories and a graphic novel about Martin Luther King, Jr. I See the Promised Land, an “extraordinary jam session” combining the distinctive storytelling traditions of Flowers and his collaborator Indian scroll painter Manu Chitrakar. Flowers has also written two novels: De Mojo Blues, about black soldiers in Vietnam, which caught the attention of Spike Lee who brought Flowers in to consult on Da 5 Bloods, and the novel that comes as close to song as prose gets, Another Good Lovin’ Blues.
He has brought the house down many a time in Lisbon for Disquiet, both in his collaborations with Erica Dawson and solo. Watch a performance by Arthur here or here.
In addition to his work and his performance, Flowers is a renowned teacher who just retired after teaching for more than twenty years in the Syracuse University MFA program. His humble approach to art and teaching is perhaps best encapsulated in this quote: “As to if my works make the cut, who knows, who cares. You write the best books you can write, the most serious and sincere work you can produce; you let the generations decide their worth.”
Arthur was scheduled to bring his Performance and Storytelling workshop once again to DISQUIET 2020, and we expect he’ll return in 2021