Review by Choice Review
Nielsen (Penn State) and Vrana (Univ. of South Alabama) assembled this collection of the work of African American poet Lorenzo Thomas (1944--2005) to shed light on the interface between race and literature. Thomas was a major poet and influential citric in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and this excellent book makes him more visible. Thomas's work illuminates the social and racial tonalities of the turbulent period in which he lived. In the preface and introduction, Vrana and Nielsen, respectively, provide an overview of this important poet's life and work. The experience of Thomas's poetry is intertwined with the overall culture in the US, including the popular music of the time. At the same time, Thomas's vision was a "pan-African global identity." The editors are familiar with the various schools of poetry that coexisted and interacted with African American aesthetics of the time: the Black Mountain poets, the Beat movement, the New York School. Thomas's poetry reveals the influences--some contemporaneous, some much earlier--of writers as diverse as Ezra Pound and Langston Hughes. Prose statements by Thomas follow the poetry and enhance the collection. The absence of a list of Thomas's books, with dates, is regrettable. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. --Barry Wallenstein, emeritus, CUNY City College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.