Heav’nly Tidings from the Afric Muse:
The Grace and Genius of Phillis Wheatley

A New Biography by Richard Kigel

HEAV’NLY TIDINGS FROM THE AFRIC MUSE: The Grace and Genius of Phillis WheatleyShe survived the horrific Middle Passage as a child and was purchased as a slave in 1761. By the time she turned twenty Phillis Wheatley became the most famous person of African descent in the world. In a culture dominated by white supremacy, she forced those around her to acknowledge her humanity and confront the inequity of her status as a slave. Heav’nly Tidings From the Afric Muse shows how Phillis Wheatley wrote her way to freedom.

Previously unexplored material adds new information and fresh perspectives to the legacy of Phillis Wheatley. Insights by three centuries of Wheatley scholars, authentic statements by her contemporaries, and her own words, taken from her writings, resurrect the spirit of the classic poet in her time, offering the opportunity to reevaluate the unique and significant role Phillis Wheatley played in the tumultuous birth of our nation.

Now with Heav’nly Tidings From the Afric Muse, Phillis Wheatley can take her place among our Founding Fathers and Mothers as the true “Poet Laureate” of the American Revolution.

“Phillis Wheatley is the mother of the African-American literary tradition and “the sable muse” of the American Revolution. With this masterful biography, she will be restored to her rightful place as a major figure in the intellectual history of the fledgling American Republic. Every student and scholar of American literature should read this well-written and carefully researched biography.”
~Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University

“This is very impressive…I think this book should be read by every poet–to remind us how precious our freedom really is.”
~Nikki Giovanni, one of our most celebrated and beloved poets, author of twenty-eight books, recipient of seven NAACP Image Awards, the Rosa Parks woman of Courage Award, the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry and one of Oprah Winfrey’s twenty-five “Living Legends.”

“Richard Kigel’s biography, Heav’nly Tidings From the Afric Muse: The Grace and Genius of Phillis Wheatley, is not only timely but also written out of a robust respect for this poet whose eloquence subverted the stereotype of the African. This book captures a young woman in bondage who possessed the courage and audacity to rise within that peculiar institution to speak as a seer, as an early American poet who dared to praise the imagination as the capstone of human experience. Kigel gives us a servant of language, a truth-teller who survived with an amazing grace, and whose dynamic work continues to challenge us across centuries.”
~Yusef Komunyakaa, internationally acclaimed poet, Pulitzer Prize winner and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His poetry can be found in the collection The 100 Best African American Poems.

“Richard Kigel brings the passion of a Master Teacher to his biography of Phillis Wheatley, survivor of the Middle Passage and poet extraordinaire of the eighteenth century Atlantic. He makes clear that Wheatley is a proper heroine for our history-hungry times.”
~Marcus Rediker, author of The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom, History Professor, University of Pittsburgh.

To find out more about HEAV’NLY TIDINGS FROM THE AFRIC MUSE visit:
Paragon House