In the intro, Lowenfels writes:
What is it that keeps Afro-American poetry away from most white readers eyes? A key problem lies in its national or ethnic quality. Although poets like David Henderson or Clarence Major writes about many subjects, they cannot help incorporating a special quality into their work that arises out of their special experience as black people in a white country. Thus their work often achieves a verbal texture that is unique. It has roots not only in the world literary traditions from which white poets take off, but also in the oral traditions of black people; their music, their songs, their special way of speaking to each other. It is the experience behind the poem as well as its language that the white reader often rejects as "poetry"; it doesn't seem to fit into the pattern of what white poets have established as the standard of excellence in the U.S.A.
The overall failure of white readers, critics, teachers, anthologists to recognize the role of the Negro poet in the image of American literature is part of the overall white refusal to recognize the image of the Negro in American life. Because it is in essence their national spirit that finds expression in Negro poetry.
I thought Bob Allen really achieved something in "Musical Vietnams." I thought too many women wasted their voice propping up men. Carl Gardner's "The Dead Man Dragged from the Sea" was haunting. Of the women, Sonia Sanchez's "summary" especially stood out (in a positive way). But my favorite was from what must be an epic "First They Slaughtered the Angels," by Lenore Kandel. It's long in the book and I'm betting it's even longer in its original form.
the bellies of women split open and children rip their
way out with bayonets
spitting blood in the eyes of blind midwives
before impaling themselves on swords
the penises of men are become blue steel machine guns,
they ejaculate bullets, they spread death as an orgasm
lovers roll in the bushes tearing at each other's genitals
with iron finger nails
It's full of imagery that haunts. Another example: "we watch from underground our eyes like periscopes." I love that.
Last week, in the community, our TV coverage was my "Whitney," Ann's "5 men, 1 woman," Rebecca's "no revenge," Marcia's "Whitney," Stan's "Body of Proof?," my "The NewsHour: Failing at the Fact Check," Stan's "South Park," Rebecca's "grimm" and my "Desperate Housewives." Marcia noted those yesterday. I should do the same. I should also say, Ann notes them all the time. Or she notes that she, Marcia and I cover Whitney all the time. I should be doing the same. So thank you to Ann for that and I'm sorry I'm so bad about providing community links.
And I should actually do another one. The State of the Union was last week. Community coverage: C.I.'s "Sir Talks A Lot," my "America's back? From where?," Mike's "Barack's not a Christian," Cedric & Wally's "Sir Talks A Lot and a Lot and a Lot and a Lot" & "THIS JUST IN! SIR TALKS A LOT!," Trina's "That awful speech," my "The NewsHour: Failing at the Fact Check," Rebecca's "oh, gloria feldt, give it up already," Mike's "Genius of the week," Elaine's "Screw Flanders and screw Nader" and, kicking things off two days before the speech, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "State of the Union"
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):