Black poetry often tends towards rhetorical excess whereas white poetry tends towards vapid prettiness, but this book of...

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AIN'T NO AMBULANCES FOR NO NIGGUHS TONIGHT

Black poetry often tends towards rhetorical excess whereas white poetry tends towards vapid prettiness, but this book of black poetry (in the truest and best sense) retains the rhythmical power and toughness of the extreme without sacrificing honesty or humanity. The earlier poems are gentler, touched occasionally with images of incredible grace, whereas the recent ones are more outwardly raucous, more obviously aligned with oral black tradition and the imagery consequently has a sharper edge, somewhere between bitterness and irony. The subjects of the poems are revolution, jazz, love, and religion; the worst (usually political) have a crude power even when they abandon poetry for the pulpit (""Many revolutionaries/ got theirs in the ass/ as they bucked atop/ another bourgeois bitch:/ Preparing her for the revolution""), and the best both describe and imitate an exalted full-blooded vision, a revolutionary heaven where 'Trane and Bird back up St. John with the screaming blues: ""my tears boiled my whole body/ and I exploded upward/ sizzling the air/ as an agony too powerful for tiffs fever blister of flesh!

Pub Date: Feb. 29, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Richard W. Baron -- dist. by Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1972