BLACK FIRE by LeRoi and Larry Neal--Eds. Jones
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In his Afterword, Neal propounds the unity of black activism and black artistry; in this important anthology, the essays and poetry exhibit that unity best. Essayists (including Carmichael, Boggs, and Nathan Hare) spontaneously interrelate social, economic and cultural issues; unfortunately they tend to exhibit the black power/black nationalist tension rather than dealing with it. The poets' section is the best. Occasionally precious or jejeune, they seem self-conscious in the best sense, and they succeed in crystallizing the lore and the argot, the anger and pride of the community North and South. The fiction suffers by comparison, equivocal in its affirmations or awkward in its articulations. The drama section is also weak-Jones' bombast has taken on a fake lyricism, a Powell burlesque never hits the target, but then reading plays is a take too. . . . Selections here are short, and if not individually brilliant, more enlightening for the white/black bourgeois reader than a thousand brand-name studies. Which is not to forget that this anthology has its own imprimatur (and influential writer/activists from Alice Walker to Julius Lester, Epton, and Cleaver are excluded). It is hard to read the book through, and hard to put it down; it has that crucial attribute, vitality; it is more than the sum of its parts and much more significant than any previous collection

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1968
Publisher: Morrow