SEE NO EVIL: Prefaces, Essays, and Accounts 1976-1983 by Ntozake Shange

SEE NO EVIL: Prefaces, Essays, and Accounts 1976-1983

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Very slight credos and jottings--72 pages in all, with illustrations--from the author offer colored girls. . . and recent poetry collections. Most substantial and eloquent is a brief essay on the lack of distinctive voices among black writers, in comparison to black musicians: ""you don't resist count basie cuz he's from red bank, new jersey . . . nobody is mad at pacheco cuz he is from the dominican republic/but i can tell you who is a poet from chicago/i cd say that's some west coast stuff/or some new york number/& there will be a great noddin of heads & huh-huhs/cuz we dent ask a poet to speak/we want a poet to talk like an arena/or like a fire station/to be everywhere/all at once. . . ."" Elsewhere, Shange reprints the for colored girls preface, rails against white-audience racism, and recalls her experience in adapting Brecht's Mother Courage for Joseph Papp's Public Theater--moving the action to post-Civil War America. (""i now have no further need to experience intimately the thought processes of a great white dead writer. . . ."") There are reprises of her radical/feminist/blackseparatist esthetics and--written in a more conventional style-uncritical reviews of black dance performances. Plus: political notes, in verse and shorthand prose, from Texas and Nicaragua--mostly simplistic, radical/sentimental, but with a few echoing lines. (""Everyone in Nicaragua can name at least one dead poet."") Disappointingly thin and repetitious work from a genuine talent, then, with only a few glimmers that show development rather than reiteration.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1984
Publisher: Memo's Press (45 Sheridan St., San Francisco, CA 94103)