Nikki Giovanni's latest work is a wonderful anthology of poems by the very best African-American writers including Langston Hughes
, Richard Wright
, Gwendolyn Brooks
and many others. Juxtaposed with the poems, Giovanni has added her own highly personal responses, sometimes including cultural context, sometimes just saying why the poem speaks to her. The poems are consistently excellent, and Giovanni's comments are always perceptive and often wise. A must-have.
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up?A remarkable collection of poetry from the Harlem Renaissance and beyond, stitched together with commentary by Giovanni. Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Robert Hayden, Ntozake Shange, and Gwendolyn Brooks are among the powerful voices included. W.E.B. DuBois, not primarily known as a poet, is shown here to be one of accomplishment. After each poem, Giovanni points out, in a readable, almost conversational style, the poet's significance and relationship to the movement. The choice of poems is sometimes idiosyncratic, and the reminiscences are quite personal and sometimes quirky. But Giovanni is always on the mark, even when she pursues a tangent, and always comes back to the role of the Harlem Renaissance in influencing African American artists. As the book progresses, the poetry becomes more difficult, and those who seek to use it as a textbook should be prepared to help students understand some of the selections. There are some serious, provocative, and violent themes, but this title is an important resource for those interested in poetry and in understanding the African American experience.?Ruth K. MacDonald, Bay Path College, Longmeadow, MA
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