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Black arts movement creator of poetry/jazz collaborations Cortez offers a selection of work published from 1974 to the present. Using rhythmic repetition to beat out a message of ludicrous horror, these poems blend nightmare and an earthy engagement: they kiss the mud of this moment. In "Rape," the poet makes a case for self-defense by ice pick: "What was Inez supposed to do for/ the man who declared war on her body/ the man who carved a combat zone between her breasts/ Was she supposed to lick crabs from his hairy ass/ kiss every pimple on his butt/ blow hot breath on his big toe?" More reflectively, Cortez riffs on the anxiety of influence: "But every time I hear from Langston/ He has too many demands/ I mean Langston always/ Wants you to talk about rivers/ Wants you to be a Revolutionary/ Speak in the voice of the people/ Dance on some crystal stairs." An important choice for poetry readers, who may also be interested in Cortez's sound recordings of some of these works.