"Ignited by the everyday sparks of racial conflict -- whether on a college campus or an aisle at Whole Foods--these extraordinarily candid essays crackle with dramatic tension. As “race stories,” they also add a creative and subtle twist to an issue too often expressed in predictable polemics. This new collection establishes Jerald Walker as truly one of the most gifted essayists of our time."
— Robert Atwan, Series Editor/The Best American Essays
"If there is a book you need to read in a time when our country is about to devour itself—it is Once More to the Ghetto. Walker’s sharp voice cuts through the social malaise of our culture, delivering intimate moments of his life—from a boy in South Chicago to a young student writer trying to find voice amid a myriad of black stereotypes to a father raising two boys in a divided country. These essays enlighten us through depth and complexity of thought and the veracity of experience."
— Ira Sukrungruang, author of President of Sweet: A Literary Confection
"I’ve been waiting for this, the first collection of essays by one of our best essayists, for years. Jerald Walker’s Once More to the Ghetto is notable for its persistence of vision, meaning how relentlessly humane these essays are even as they stare into America’s split, racist heart. And like America and Americans, this book is both funny and fucked up, and neither can exist without the other. The effect reminds me of the thaumatrope, that 19th century optical toy with a bird drawn on one side of a disc and an empty cage on the other, how when spun quickly the two images appear superimposed. Walker’s essays do this too. He’s faster than me and faster than you."
— Ander Monson, author of Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions