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Soulscript: A Collection of Classic African American Poetry
     

Soulscript: A Collection of Classic African American Poetry

by June Jordan
 

Black poets from the early twentieth century and onward come together for a moving anthology, edited and organized by the late, revered poet June Jordan.

First published in 1970, soulscript is a poignant, panoramic collection of poetry from some of the most eloquent voices in the art. Selected for their literary excellence and by the dictates

Overview

Black poets from the early twentieth century and onward come together for a moving anthology, edited and organized by the late, revered poet June Jordan.

First published in 1970, soulscript is a poignant, panoramic collection of poetry from some of the most eloquent voices in the art. Selected for their literary excellence and by the dictates of Jordan’s heart, these works tell the story of both collective and personal experiences, in Jordan’s words, “in tears, in rage, in hope, in sonnet, in blank/free verse, in overwhelming rhetorical scream.”
Soulscript features works by Jordan and other luminaries like Gwendolyn Brooks, Countee Cullen, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Gayl Jines, James Weldon Johnson, Audre Lorde, Claude McKay, Ishmael Reed, Sonia Sanchez, and Richard Wright, as well as the fresh voices of a turbulent era’s younger writers. Celebrated spoken-word poet Staceyann Chin, an original cast member of Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, has also added an introduction that speaks to Jordan’s legacy, helping to further cement soulscript as a visionary compilation that has already become a modern classic.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In political journalism that cuts like razors, in essays that blast the darkness of confusion with relentless light; in poetry that looks as closely into lilac buds as into death’s mouth . . . she has comforted, explained, described, wrestled with, taught and made us laugh out loud before we wept . . . I am talking about a span of forty years of tireless activism coupled with and fueled by flawless art.”
Toni Morrison, on June Jordan
Library Journal
Assembled by editor Jordan in 1970, this anthology includes works by Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright, Nikki Giovanni, and numerous others. The poems are divided into multiple categories such as Tomorrow Words Today, Black Eyes on a Fallowland, and Attitudes of the Soul. Good stuff. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780767918466
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/02/2004
Series:
Harlem Moon Classics Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

MY PEOPLE by Langston Hughes

The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

UNCLE BULL-BOY by June Jordan

His brother after dinner once a year would play the piano short and tough in white shirt plaid suspenders green tie and checked trousers.
Two teeth were gold. His eyes were pink with alcohol. His fingers thumped for Auld Lang Syne.
He played St. Louis Woman
Boogie, Blues, the light pedestrian.

But one night after dinner after chitterlings and pigs' feet after bourbon and rum and rye after turnip greens and mustard greens and sweet potato pie
Bullboy looking everywhere realized his brother was not there.

Who would emphasize the luxury of ice cream by the gallon who would repeat effusively the glamour not the gall of five degrees outstanding on the wall?
Which head would nod and then recall the crimes the apples stolen from the stalls the soft coal stolen by the pile?
Who would admire the eighteenth pair of forty dollar shoes?
Who could extol their mother with good brandy as his muse?

His brother dead from drinking
Bullboy drank to clear his thinking saw the roach inside the riddle.
Soon the bubbles from his glass were the only bits of charm which overcame his folded arms.

AMERICAN GOTHIC by Paul Vesey
To Satch
(The legendary Satchel Page, one of the star pitchers in Negro baseball)

Sometimes I feel like I will never stop
Just go on forever
Til one fine mornin'

I'm gonna reach up and grab me a handfulla stars
Swing out my long lean leg
And whip three hot strikes burnin' down the heavens
And look over at God and say
How about that!

Meet the Author

JUNE JORDAN was an internationally recognized and beloved writer, teacher, and activist. The author of many books of poetry and essays, including Kissing God Goodbye, Haruko/Love Poems, Some of Us Did Not Die, and Affirmative Acts, she died from breast cancer in 2002.

Harlem Moon Classics Series Advisor: Gina Dent, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz.

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