Sunday, September 6, 2015

Outstanding Special Issue on Black Poetry--Negro Digest (Sept. 1969)

Negro Digest (September 1969)

The September 1969 issue of Negro Digest was a spectacular special issue devoted to black poetry. The cover included a photograph Mari Evans as well as her poem "I Am a Black Woman." Inside, one of the opening pages includes a photograph of Gwendolyn Brooks and the note: "This issue of Negro Digest is dedicated to that poet and great lady, Gwendolyn Brooks, who cares very much and who invests her concern with comparable beauty."

The issue has an essay "The Black Aesthetic" by Amiri Baraka (then known as Ameer). There's also an essay "Black Poetry--Where It's At" by Carolyn Rodgers. The issue contains poems by more than 70 poets, including Larry Neal, Ishmael Reed, Michael S. Harper, Julia Fields, Sterling Plumpp, Jayne Cortez, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Alvin Aubert, among others. Finally, in the issue, Alicia L. Johnson reviews Clarence Major's anthology The New Black Poetry; Johari Amini reviews Russell Atkins's Heretofore; and Nikki Giovanni reviews  Dudley Randall's Cities Burning.

Taken together, the poets and poems, essays, reviews, photographs and cover image make the this special issue outstanding.

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