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Information is power. Our mission at Portside is to seek out and to provide information that empowers you -- that empowers the left. Every day we search hundreds of sources to connect you with the most interesting, striking and useful material. Just once a year we appeal to you to contribute to make it possible to continue this work. Please help.

books

Brown

L. Ali Khan New York Journal of Books
A new collection by the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and poetry editor of The New Yorker consists of poems that, says this reviewer, "fit the bill of quantum poetry."

poetry

Your National Anthem

Clint Smith Harvard Kennedy School Journal of African American Public Policy
The poet Clint Smith draws a haunting link between Kaepernick the football player and his own son sitting in a grocery cart.

books

The Right Poetry Collection For Right Now

Walton Muyumba Los Angeles Times
This poet's sixth collection offers aims helping us reflect on our difficult times. Hayes, an African American poet, wrote this new collection during the first 200 days of the Trump administration.

poetry

Untitled #1

henry 7. reneau, jr.
Approaching the 50th anniversary of MLK’s murder, California poet henry 7 reneau, jr., writes, “There’s a sickness in people”—Malice…Greed…Denial—“in opposition to…common sense.” Not too late to do something about it.

books

“Up to Their Necks in Fuel”: On Patricia Smith’s Incendiary Art

Jonathan Farmer Kenyon Review
This poet and this book have just won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award based at Claremont Graduate University. The prize is given to a mid-career poet, and is one of the top literary prizes given in the United States. It is a significant testament to the power of Smith's work. This review shows wide-ranging and powerful art that Patricia Smith practices.

poetry

Black People Can’t Swim

Diana Goetsch Gettysburg Review
In our age of cultural pluralism, mixing ethnicity, race, religion, gender, not to mention economics, the poet Diana Goetsch enjoys an evening celebrating what’s different and what’s not

books

Michael S. Harper (1938-2016), Acclaimed African American Poet

Poetry Foundation
Michael S. Harper, who died on Saturday in Rhinebeck, N.Y. at the age of 78, was a major American and African American poet. He was a writer of complex poems that combined history and memory with a deep network of African American cultural, folkloric, and musical allusions and symbols. This brief biography of Harper is from the Poetry Foundation's website. A generous selection of Harper's work can be found on the Foundation's website.

books

Rebirth of Venus

Dan Chiasson The New Yorker
The Voyage of the Sable Venus, the highly regarded debut poetry collection by Robin Coste Lewis, won the national book award this year for poetry. The title poem unites art history with the history of slavery and racism. Here, Dan Chiasson introduces this book, which has become a must-read across the literary spectrum.

books

The Poems of Amiri Baraka

Patrick James Dunagan Bookslut
Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) was the most influential African American poet of the last half-century. His was a wide ranging, experimental practice that left its mark on literary poetry, spoken word verse, and hip-hop. He was a socially committed and engaged intellectual who combined a Marxist enthusiasm with a linguistic panache that resulted in a rich, humorous, and rigorous body of work. Patrick James Dunagan looks at a summing-up collection of his work.
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