This dossier on race and innovation collects a diverse group of poets who engage the following questions in their work: Is there perhaps something about innovation or experimentation that gives race a new name, a new dimension? Is there room for black-hand sides, coon play, other difficult (sometimes painful) racial humor? Is there something about being “of a darker hue” and the social experience in the world accompanying that bodily existence that compels an increasing number of writers of color to dance in the fields of experiment, play, irony, and other boundary-pushing modes? In other words, what use are innovative forms and approaches in telling raced or unraced stories by raced subjects? Conversely, what's at stake for the white writer who takes up racial subjects without hedging, pleasing, or apology? And, lastly, is there something about the contemporary moment that necessitates working outside of conventional constraints?

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