Clarence Major

Dirty Bird Blues
  • Dirty Bird Blues

  • It is Chicago in the 1950s and Manfred Banks has the Dirty Bird Blues. A musician and a blue-collar worker, he feels hard the tug of his two responsibilities: those to his wife and child, and those to rhythm and rhyme, to the lyrics that groove a hollow in his mind. Beneath both is the awful grinding racism Manfred meets on streets each day; that which plucks opportunity from his grasp; that which keeps him wandering in search of fresh starts. And so, in want of easy answers, he turns to the 'Dirty Bird': Old Crow brand whiskey.

    One of Clarence Major's most influential novels, Dirty Bird Blues is both an extraordinary portrayal of twentieth century Black reality, and an ode to the richness and power of the blues.

Clarence Major (b.1936) is an American writer and painter. He is the author of eleven novels and fifteen collections of poetry. He was awarded the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award in the Fine Arts by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the 2016 PEN Oakland/Reginald Lockett Lifetime Achievement Award, a Fulbright Fellowship and a National Council on the Arts Fellowship. He is also a distinguished professor emeritus of twentieth century American literature at the University of California at Davis.

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