Black Spirits: A Festival of New Black Poets in America



Black Spirits: A Festival of New Black Poets in America

This edition

"Black Spirits: A Festival of New Black Poets in America" . Ed. Woodie King. New York: Random House, 1972. xxviii+252 pp.; repr. New York: Vintage ,1972. (paperback)

Online access

• Record (audio) available on YouTube 43 min 31 sec. (uploaded by Reelblack One, 4 Sept. 2018, from foreal1992 who originally posted it on their YouTube channel)

Table of contents

n/a for print volume

Track list for record/CD (Motown, 1972; reissued in 2021):

Side A
• Imamu Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) / Introduction
• Kali [Grosvenor] / Circles
• Kali [Grosvenor] / Black Is
• Kali [Grosvenor] / Nigger, Do You
• Kali [Grosvenor] / This Little Light of Mine
• Kali [Grosvenor] / Ladybird
• Kali [Grosvenor] / What's Happening to the Heroes
• Johari Amini / A Folk Fable for My People
• Clarence Major / Kitchen Chair Poem #5
• David Henderson / Boppin
• Norman Jordan / The Poet The Dreamer
• Norman Jordan / Popsicle Cold
• Norman Jordan / One-Eyed Critics
• Norman Jordan / Brothers
• Norman Jordan / The Struggle Must Go On
• Norman Jordan / Clairvoyance
• Norman Jordan / One For All
• Norman Jordan / Mind and Soul after Dark
• Norman Jordan / Allah
• Norman Jordan / Above Karma
• Aski Mohammad Toure / Notes from a Guerilla Diary

Side B:
• The Original Last Poets / And See Her Image in the River
• The Original Last Poets / Song of Ditta, Part II
• Stanley Crouch / Pimp's Last Mack: A Death Request
• Jackie Earley / One Thousand Nine Hundred & Sixty Eight Winters
• Amus Moore / Hip Men
• Larry Neal / Holy Days
• Imamu Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) / A History Poem

About the anthology

• With "Amiri Baraka as 'artistic consultant,' a foreword by Nikki Giovanni, and an introduction by Don L. Lee" (Kinnamon 1997: 470).

Publisher's description

• (from dust jacket): "This anthology, containing the work of thirty leading contemporary Black poets, emanated from a poetry festival produced by Woodie King Associates, and presented at the Apollo Theater and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City. The poets, from every region of the country, read to an audience of several thousand people. The event earmarked an important development in Black poetry. Revitalized by its emphasis on the oral--a major aspect of Black culture--and its direction toward the masses of Black people, it has placed these poets in the realm of the new cultural heroes of the community of the new cultural heroes of the community alongside the Black musicians, who have traditionally represented the purest form of Black art. Under the common motif of Black social and political awareness, the poetry in this book reflects variety in tone, intensity and style. In it the reader will find the soft lyricism of Mari Evans, the scalpel-wielding imagery of Imamu Amiri Baraka . . ."

Reviews and notices of anthology

• n/a

Commentary on anthology

• Kwame Alexander, Interviewed by Michel Martin, on "Morning Edition." NPR 26 Jan. 2024:
Speaking of the inspiration for his new anthology, "This Is Honey" (2024), Alexander recalls: "You know, when I was 12, we were living in Virginia, and I--my job was to clean out the garage every weekend. And my garage was a library. There were about 100 crates filled with books. And I discovered this one book called "Black Spirits," edited by Woodie King, a festival of Black poets in America. I read this book and couldn't put it down. There was this one particular poem in there--I got up this morning feeling good and Black, thinking Black thoughts, did Black things like played all my Black records and minded my own Black business. Put on my best Black clothes, walked out my Black door, and, Lord have mercy, white snow. (Laughter) . . . [Michel Martin:} Can I just--for those who can't see us, you are reciting. You are not reading. You are reciting from memory. [Kwame Alexander:} That's how much the poem and that book of poems meant to me. And it inspired my imagination. It elevated my imagination, the power of language. I've always wanted to do an anthology of poets who are living, contemporary poets, and I thought this was the right time."

Cited in

Kinnamon 1997: 470]

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