Introduction to Americana
Poems can be reflective or reactionary. In a reflective mood, the poet comments on past events. His or her voice may be calm, wistful, and longing. They are preservers of the moment. When poets put on their reactionary mantle, they are more vocal and want to move themselves and others to action In this small collection, Harvey has both the reflective voice and the force of the reactionary.
Viewing the Vietnam War, race relations, and the cultural renaissance of the 1960's and 1970's through the prism of a child's eye shaped Harvey's views and points of view. The poets Allen Ginsburg, Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, and Ai shaped his voice.
Herds of humanity
Graze on street corner slop and ride in the bellies
Of silver worms beneath city gutters
Street people are ragged and unfashionably stinky.
Everyone else is fashionably ragged.
"Andy" sells me a beaded sweater
off an old lady's dead shoulders.
A roguish Puerto Rican painter copies
A Robert Colescott painting as his own black creation.
Got all dressed up to go to the theatre in Harlem.
Got there stinky and hot--Harlem,
Who bombed it?
Noise all night long in Brooklyn.
No ugly people live in New York
Everyone is Cafe' au lait. Tall boy with five-inch hair
Sits wide-legged on the sub in baggy trousers.
His throat is stiff with defiance, But his dark
Eyes linger in mine for a moment.
Everything is for sale in New York
Even a hug from daddy long legs.
Other Notable poetry volumes by the author:
The Last Supper
3AM: Poems and Stories From the Other Mind
|Publisher:||Wes Writers and Publishers|
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About the Author
Charles W. Harvey is a native Houstonian and a graduate of the University of Houston. He has studied fiction under the guidance of Rosellen Brown and Chitra Divakaruni at U of H. He has studied poetry under Joyce James and Cynthia MacDonald. In 1987, Charles was a 1st place prize recipient of PEN/Discovery for Cheeseburger, which went on to be published in the Ontario Review. In 1989 Charles Harvey was awarded the Cultural Arts Council of Houston Grant for Writers and Artists. Also in 1989 he was a finalist in the MacDonald's Literary Achievement Awards. Charles has been published in Soulfires, Story Magazine SHADE, High Infidelity, The James White Review, and others. He is the author of the novels The Butterfly Killer, Promise Goodday, and Boy 4 Higher. He is also the author of several story and poetry collections.