Jimmy's blues and other poems

James Baldwin, 1924-1987

Book - 2014

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Subjects
Published
Boston : Beacon Press [2014]
Language
English
Physical Description
xxi, 94 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780807084861
0807084867
Main Author
James Baldwin, 1924-1987 (-)
Other Authors
Nikky Finney (-)
  • Jimmy's Blues
  • Staggerlee wonders
  • Song (for Skip)
  • Munich, Winter 1973 (for Y.S.)
  • The giver (for Berdis)
  • 3.00 a.m. (for David)
  • The darkest hour
  • Imagination
  • Confession
  • Le sporting-club de Monte Carlo (for Lena Horne)
  • Some days (for Paula)
  • Conundrum (on my birthday) (for Rico)
  • Christmas carol
  • A lady like landscapes (for Simone Signoret)
  • Guilt, Desire and Love
  • Death is easy (for Jefe)
  • Mirrors (for David)
  • A Lover's Question
  • Inventory/On Being 52
  • Amen
  • Other Poems
  • Gypsy
  • Song for the Shepard Boy
  • For A.
  • For EARL
  • Untitled
  • BALLAD (for Yoran)
Review by Booklist Reviews

National Book Award–winning poet Nikky Finney introduces this collection of Baldwin's long unavailable poetry with radiant gratitude and appreciation, declaring him the most salient, sublime, and consequential American writer of the twentieth century. Black, gay, proud, and courageously direct, Baldwin wrote poetry throughout his life, and poetry was the current that powered his novels, essays, and plays. This volume reclaims his blazing, embracing collection, Jimmy's Blues (1983), as well as poems previously found only in a limited edition art book, and they are as potent and significant now as then. The opening poem, Staggerlee wonders, is a rolling, roiling indictment of American lies, racism, genocide, and mayhem. Baldwin writes perceptively and poignantly of time and history, homosexuality as a crime, longing and love, and poses riddles of conscience and spirit. His humor is lashing and sly, his sexiness bold and lithe. Baldwin is thunderous and crooning, rueful and cutting, prayerful and ferocious, questioning and questing. My light is darkness / and in my darkness moves, forever, / the dream or the hope or the fear of sight. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A complete collection of published poems by the acclaimed writer of Notes of a Native Son includes six significant poems previously only available in limited editions and offers insight into his near-prophetic views on race, class, poverty and social orientation. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

All of the published poetry of James Baldwin, including six significant poems previously only available in a limited edition  During his lifetime (1924–1987), James Baldwin authored seven novels, as well as several plays and essay collections, which were published to wide-spread praise. These books, among them Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time, Giovanni’s Room, and Go Tell It on the Mountain, brought him well-deserved acclaim as a public intellectual and admiration as a writer. However, Baldwin’s earliest writing was in poetic form, and Baldwin considered himself a poet throughout his lifetime. Nonetheless, his single book of poetry, Jimmy’s Blues, never achieved the popularity of his novels and nonfiction, and is the one and only book to fall out of print. This new collection presents James Baldwin the poet, including all nineteen poems from Jimmy’s Blues, as well as all the poems from a limited-edition volume called Gypsy, of which only 325 copies were ever printed and which was in production at the time of his death. Known for his relentless honesty and startlingly prophetic insights on issues of race, gender, class, and poverty, Baldwin is just as enlightening and bold in his poetry as in his famous novels and essays. The poems range from the extended dramatic narratives of “Staggerlee wonders” and “Gypsy” to the lyrical beauty of “Some days,” which has been set to music and interpreted by such acclaimed artists as Audra McDonald. Nikky Finney’s introductory essay reveals the importance, relevance, and rich rewards of these little-known works. Baldwin’s many devotees will find much to celebrate in these pages.