Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Cecil S. Giscombe  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: Dayton, Ohio

-- Cecil S. Giscombe on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection


Biographical and Professional Information

Professor Giscombe has worked as a taxi driver, as a hospital orderly, as a railroad brakeman, and for years edited a national literary magazine (Epoch, at Cornell University). His writing has appeared in several anthologies—the Best American Poetry series, the Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry, Telling It Slant: Avant-Garde Poetics of the 1990s, Bluesprint: Black British Columbia Literature and Orature, Lyrical Postmodernisms, American Hybrid, etc.

Selected Titles At Your Library

Here /
ISBN: 1564783383. OCLC Number:

. .

Giscome Road /
ISBN: 1564781844. OCLC Number:

Dalkey Archive Press,. Normal, IL :. 1998.

"Concerned with specific locales in northern Canada named for the 19th-century Jamaican miner and explorer John Robert Giscome, the volume incorporates a variety of historical documents, maps, and dreams, to go "in & further in," discovering and documenting music, racial dichotomies, sexuality, and the ways in which landscape itself is described."--BOOK JACKET.

Into and out of dislocation /
ISBN: 0865475415. OCLC Number:

North Point Press,. New York :. 2000.

"It was on his third or fourth trip there that the poet C. S. Giscombe grew aware of the space Canada had staked out in his imagination. Giscombe later spent a winter with his family in British Columbia, and his time there becomes a lens through which he interrogates his preoccupation with Canada's otherness. He writes that "border crossings are always sexy. And racial." And so this book is filled with both actual and metaphoric exploration - and Giscombe's travels serve as points of departure for a series of meditations on racial, national, physical, and psychological borders." "At the heart of this book is the author's ambivalent pursuit of John Robert Giscome, a man who may or may not be a relative. John R., as Giscombe calls him, was a black Jamaican explorer who flourished in British Columbia during the last half of the nineteenth century. Giscombe documents the places that John R. passed through, and he uncovers stories about mining, pioneer life, and even cannibalism. Giscombe likes to imagine John R. as "a self-aware outsider" and that status comes to seem more important - more interesting - than any historical truth."--BOOK JACKET.


1998 Carl Sandburg Award Giscombe is the 2010 recipient of the Stephen Henderson Award in Poetry (given by the African American Literature and Culture Society)

. Prairie Style was awarded a 2008 American Book Award by the Before Columbus Foundation

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)