Item #6050 Spirit Songs (A Poembook). Kwame, James Clay.
Spirit Songs (A Poembook).
Spirit Songs (A Poembook).
Spirit Songs (A Poembook).
Spirit Songs (A Poembook).

Sign up to receive email notices of recent acquisitions.

Spirit Songs (A Poembook).

[Cincinnati], Bantu Creations, 1981. 12mo (8.5” x 5.5”), printed wrappers. viii, 50 pp., illus.

First and only edition of the second collection of poetry by this African-American poet from Cincinnati, with illustrations of ancient African art and other African-American imagery throughout.

Clay (also known as Kwame Mwanafunsi) dedicates this volume to several women including his daughter and mother, as well as “to all my other sisters and brothers of Pan-Afrikan Understanding.” The contents include such works as “In Memory of Stephen Biko,” “On Present Struggles,” “A Revolutionary Love Poem,” “To Future Pharoahs,” “Brown Sugar,” “Blues for an Out of Town Love,” “On the Female Preference of Menfolk,” “Down But Not Out,” “To Would/Be Blues Singers,” and “Boogie,” the latter ending the collection on a characteristic upbeat note: “Love / is music / the / heart / can dance / to / and / Truth / is rhythm / of / the / mind/ so / c’mon now / EVERYBODY GET DOWN.” The striking cover design is by Cincinnati artist Gilbert Young.

The preface is written by Angeline Jamison, a professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Jamison cites Kwame’s knowledge of racism and oppression, and notes he has “looked at Black life as a world-wide experience, and fused our historical past with our cultural present…Kwame’s poetry is poetry of celebration. And the imagery, symbolism, the language itself are representative of his commitment to Black Culture, Black People and Black Art. There is music here, and there is a kind of joy that says the poet has been able to transcend the difficulties of creative optimism in the 1980s. But most of all in Spirit Songs, there is a commitment to Black life.”

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Kwame left high school early for the “higher education of the Streets,” but later came full circle—returning to complete high school and then working towards a Communication degree at Xavier University. As noted here, Kwame also attended the University Without Walls and the University of Cincinnati. He published widely, and also taught at Howard University (under writer John Oliver Killens) and at other institutions.

CONDITION: Very good, light wear to covers.

Item #6050

Price: $250.00

See all items in Rare Books
See all items by ,