The literary voices found in Kente Cloth are as unique and varied as the hues of their skin. Their choice of subjects offers an equally varied glimpse into the region’s vast cache of truly new voices.
"Herein are the children of a Black Southwest . . . from storytellers, railroad bosses, liars, cooks, hairdressers, bus riders, singers, farm hands and the like. They tell the tales of fisher folk, ditch diggers, quilters and planters of trees. They come washed in the blood of the lamb and drenched in the wind-carried love of deep woods hollars and back alley brawls. They come drenched with the cacophony of prayers from childbirth to childhood and the laying down of the too young soul. They come strong from the womb of desolation disguised as charity and welcomed by the hands of fate. These are the writers of lives being lived and not of the merely imagined or coughed up writing class creations.
These mostly unpublished writers have fought and birthed and churched and gathered ‘round gravesites, together. They have hunted the lakes, swamps, valleys and eyes of the racial beasts, together. They have come back again each year to honor their dead, together. They have wished for a passion and found it on the early morning dew of backyard pears, together. They have walked a mile and more in the brogan steppers of the elders, together. They have ratcheted out the long days and nights toward progression, where their voices have been abandoned for the smooth elegance of the other brother, together. They have endured silence together, and I am honored in accepting these wonderful and horrible and gloried voices of this brief collection. Each of these letters bear witness to the honor and discovery of being alive in a way that alive is not practiced today: Considered and just."—Jas. Mardis, from the Introduction