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James Baldwin

I couldn’t believe it: but what I mean by that is that I couldn’t find any room for it anywhere inside me. I had kept it outside me for a long time. I hadn’t wanted to know. — James Baldwin, from “Sonny’s Blues” (1957), Going to Meet the Man. (Vintage; Reissue edition, April 25, 1995)… Continue reading James Baldwin

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African-American Culture · African-American Literature · Classic · Collection · Poetry

Jean Toomer

Her Lips Are Copper Wire whisper of yellow globes gleaming on lamp-posts that sway like bootleg licker drinkers in the fog and let your breath be moist against me like bright beads on yellow globes telephone the power-house that the main wires are insulate (her words play softly up and down dewy corridors of billboards)… Continue reading Jean Toomer

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African-American Culture · African-American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Feminism · Fragment · LGBT · Passage · Poetry · Queer · Race

Audre Lorde

I am the sun and moon and forever hungry the sharpened edge where day and night shall meet and not be one. — Audre Lorde, from “From the House of Yemanjá,” The Black Unicorn: Poems. (W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue edition, August 17, 1995) Originally published 1978.

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African-American Culture · African-American Literature · American Counterculture · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Fragment · Jazz · Passage · Poetry · Surrealism · The Beat Generation

Bob Kaufman

In order to exist I hide behind stacks of red and blue poems And open little sensuous parasols — Bob Kaufman, from “Afterwards They Shall Dance,” Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness. (New Directions, January 17, 1965)

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African-American Culture · African-American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · LGBT · Poetry · Queer · Race

Saeed Jones

Her blue dress is a silk train is a river is water seeps into the cobblestone streets of my sleep, is still raining is monsoon brocade, is winter stars stitched into puddles is good-bye in a flooded, antique room, is good-bye in a room of crystal bowls and crystal cups, is the ring-ting-ring of water… Continue reading Saeed Jones

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