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Clarence Major Biography

(1936– ), All-Night Visitors, Reflex and Bone Structure, Emergency Exit, Such Was The Season

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Madras House to Harriet Martineau Biography

American novelist and poet, educated at the Art Institute of Chicago, the New School for Social Research, the State University of New York, and the Union for Experimental Colleges and Universities; amongst other teaching posts he became Professor at the University of California at Davis. Widely recognized to be at the experimental forefront of African-American poetry and fiction, he has made a special forte of using popular culture in his work—African-American and American-at-large. Although he began as a poet, he won his early reputation with a novel, All-Night Visitors (1969), an urbane, and at times strikingly erotic, inter-racial story. Verse, fiction, essays, short stories, and anthologies have followed in profusion. His other works of fiction include the novels NO (1973), a kind of literary detective story; Reflex and Bone Structure (1975), a model of reflexivity; Emergency Exit (1979), again an experiment in voice and design; Such Was The Season (1987), an intimate, more conventional, story-memoir of black middle-class life in Atlanta; and a short-story collection, Fun and Games (1990). Among his volumes of poetry are Swallow The Lake (1970), Symptoms and Madness (1971), Private Line (1971), The Cotton Club (1972), Inside Diameter: The France Poems (1985), and Surfaces and Masks (1988). He has also written a Dictionary of Afro-American Slang (1970).

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