Echo Tree

Echo Tree

The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas

Henry Dumas


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  • Classic, much-lauded title that feels fresh rather than archival. Dumas’s voice will bring necessary insight to conversations about dismantling white supremacy and abolishing state-sanctioned violence against Black people.
  • These stories are exceptional on a sentence level, playing with genre, form, jazz, and elements of Afrofuturism.
  • This reissue of our 2003 edition will have gorgeous new cover art by Gail Anderson and a new foreword by John Keene. For years, booksellers have requested an edition of Echo Tree that would feel more contemporary and less academic—this new package should make offering Dumas's work to customers a much easier sell.
  • Dumas’s influence on the Black Arts Movement and on contemporary Black literature would be hard to overstate. Toni Morrison championed, edited, and eventually published much of Dumas’s poetry posthumously. Ta-Nehisi Coates prefaced the third volume of his Black Panther comic-book series for Marvel with a Dumas excerpt. We’re pursuing prominent authors for endorsements for this new edition.
  • Beyond overlapping with the audiences of writers like James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Ralph Ellison, Dumas’s short stories will appeal to readers of Afrofuturistic fantasy like Marlon James (Black Leopard, Red Wolf) and N.K. Jemisin, and modern short story geniuses like James McBride (Five-Carat Soul), Zadie Smith (Grand Union), and Kathleen Collins (Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?).


Henry Dumas:

Henry Dumas was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, in 1934 and moved to Harlem at the age of ten. He joined the air force in 1953 and spent a year on the Arabian Peninsula. After returning, Dumas became active in the civil rights movement, married Loretta Ponton, had two sons, attended Rutgers University, worked for IBM, and taught at Hiram College in Ohio and at Southern Illinois University’s Experiment in Higher Education in East St. Louis. In 1968, at the age of thirty-three, he was shot and killed by a New York City Transit Authority police officer.

Eugene B. Redmond was named poet laureate of East St. Louis in 1976, the same year Doubleday published his Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry, A Critical History. Redmond taught along-side Henry Dumas at Southern Illinois University, where he is currently an emeritus professor of English. Since 1968, he has edited and helped publish most of Dumas’s poetry and fiction.

John Keene's 
recent books include the story collection Counternarratives (New Directions, 2016) and several books of poetry. He has also translated the Brazilian author Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer (Nightboat Books, 2014) and numerous other authors from Portuguese, French, and Spanish. His recent honors include an American Book Award, a Lannan Literary Award, a Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction, and a 2018 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He chairs the department of African American and African Studies and teaches English and creative writing at Rutgers University–Newark.