Soulscript: Afro-American Poetry



Soulscript: Afro-American Poetry

This edition

"Soulscript: Afro-American Poetry" . Ed. June Jordan. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970. xix+146 pp.

Other editions, reprints, and translations

• Repr. as "Soulscript: A Collection of African American Poetry". Ed. June Jordan. Intro. Staceyann Chin. New York: Harlem Moon, 2004. 179 pp.

Table of contents

Tomorrow words today -- All about the always first -- Hero hymns and heroines -- Corners on the curving sky -- Saying in person -- Black eyes on a fallowland -- Attitudes of soul.

Reviews and notices of anthology

• n/a

Commentary on anthology

• A volume that is "especially good in its representation of women poets, some in their teens and twenties" (Kinnamon 1997: 471). [See also Nikki Giovanni's "Night Comes Softly" (1970).]
• ""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" (publisher's description, 2004 ed.; WorldCat)
• "The poems in the anthology are organized based on themese, and each of those themes is introduced by a short poem, which explains the section, by Jordan. As a result, Jordan displays her own poetic skills // throughout the anthology, and by organizing the poems by theme, she highlights the idea that a range of Black writers have addressed overlapping topics in their poems across the decades" (Harold Rambsy II. "Understanding the 'New' African American Anthologies." In "The New Black Poetry: Its Origins, Poetics, Technical Production, and Criticism." Diss. Pennsylvania State University, 2004. 187-88).
• "The seminal collection "Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Poetry" (1968), edited by LeRoi Jones and Larry Neal [see above], presented a detailed articulation of the [Black Arts] movement's priorities and plan as argued in critical essays and demonstrated in poetry, fiction, and drama; it also revealed the masculine imagination of the project. Of the seventy-seven writers included, five are women whose work takes no issue with the men. Nikki Giovanni is notably absent from the collection, as are June Meyer (later known as June Jordan) and Audre Lorde, who were writing and publishing in the 1960s. Jordan's anthology "Soulscript" (1970) served as a counterpoint, since it included young, unknown poets as well as many of Jordan's contemporaries, especially those excluded from "Black Fire" such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Giovanni, and Lorde. "Soulscript" also broadened its scope to include literary elders and predecessors Countee Cullen, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, and more" (Opal J. Moore. "Redefining the Art of Poetry." "The Cambridge History of African American Literature". Ed. Maryemma Graham and Jerry W. Ward, Jr. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011. 503).

Cited in

• Kinnamon 1997: 470-71.

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Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing See also Bibliographic Resource