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Jimmy's Blues and Other Poems Paperback – April 1, 2014
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National Book Award–winning poet Nikky Finney introduces this collection of Baldwin’s long unavailable poetry with radiant gratitude and appreciation, declaring him the most salient, sublime, and consequential American writer of the twentieth century. Black, gay, proud, and courageously direct, Baldwin wrote poetry throughout his life, and poetry was the current that powered his novels, essays, and plays. This volume reclaims his blazing, embracing collection, Jimmy’s Blues (1983), as well as poems previously found only in a limited edition art book, and they are as potent and significant now as then. The opening poem, Staggerlee wonders, is a rolling, roiling indictment of American lies, racism, genocide, and mayhem. Baldwin writes perceptively and poignantly of time and history, homosexuality as a crime, longing and love, and poses riddles of conscience and spirit. His humor is lashing and sly, his sexiness bold and lithe. Baldwin is thunderous and crooning, rueful and cutting, prayerful and ferocious, questioning and questing. My light is darkness / and in my darkness moves, forever, / the dream or the hope or the fear of sight. --Donna Seaman
“...Poetry was the current that powered his novels, essays, and plays…blazing, embracing collection...as potent and significant now as then. ...Baldwin writes perceptively and poignantly... His humor is lashing and sly, his sexiness bold and lithe. Baldwin is thunderous and crooning, rueful and cutting, prayerful and ferocious, questioning and questing.”
“These poems were written over thirty years ago, yet they still speak to many of the injustices in the world and to our experience as human beings trying to make sense of our own existence.”
—The Good Men Project
“Lyrical, captivating, evocative, thought-provoking poems that also happen to be exploring the political climate of his time.” —Ploughshares
“A beautiful and necessary collection of Baldwin’s poetry.” —American Book Review
“I am completely indebted to Jimmy Baldwin’s prose. It liberated me as a writer. These poems overwhelm without competing with his prose and I am grateful to have this collection.”
“These poems are morning stars to be inhaled everyday as we strip search our eyes for new memory. Thank you Brother Jimmy for the breath of your poems.”
“James Baldwin was born for truth. It called upon him to tell it on the mountains, to preach it in Harlem, to sing it on the Left Bank in Paris. His honesty and courage would lead him to see truth and to write truth in poetry, drama, fiction and essay. He was a giant.”
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Will teach to my students when reading Invisible Man and Kindred.