BLACK FIRE by LeRoi & 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. 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.

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