From bestselling poet Giovanni, recently appointed professor of English at Virginia Polytechnic: over two dozen short essays, personal and political, on topics ranging from Spike Lee's Malcolm X to matters of family and friends While working primarily in the public realm by writing about various aspects of American life as she has encountered them in the past few years, Giovanni also leaves room for more intimate ruminations: on moving to Virginia; on the vagaries of teaching poetry; or on the significance of buying a candy-red sports car. Often affirming her affinity for the original Star Trek series, and especially for the role of communications officer Uhura (``The voice of the entire Federation''), she frequently evokes the memories and lessons of the Sixties as evidence of gains in justice and equality for black Americans. But with racism still present in both society and the classroom, and African-American collegians still an imperiled minority, the author comes down hard on those seen as perpetuating the problem, such as Spike Lee, for his lack of historical perspective and for his distorted, self-serving portrait of a genuine black hero. The general rage may be mellower with age, but Giovanni's ability to provoke with barbed comments remains much in evidence. Unfortunately, though, without the cutting edge consistently applied, these views of society and culture tend to ramble and reminisce more than drive the point home, leaving a favorable--but less than lasting--impression.