With the publication of Safari West, John A. Williams turns to poetry, his first love, while never straying from his exploration of the African-American experience and the issues he’s examined since writing The Angry Ones in 1960. The poems range in time from 1953’s "The Cool Ones" and "The Age of Bop" through 1997, reminiscent at times of Langston Hughes or Robert Hayden, but always John A. Williams: the observant, telling detail; the visceral image that plays off the measured meter and structured rhymes; the consistent and insistent voice that cries ’I am.’ Many of the poems included in Safari West appear here in print for the first time, including four, "Many Thousand Gone: Version 95," "John Brown," "Nat Turner’s Profession" and "Moremi," from the libretto of Williams’ opera, Vanqui. Safari West is a powerful collection of poetry, one of resonance, one of importance, from one of the great voices in African-American letters. John A. Williams and Safari West are winners of the 1998 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.
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