Critics were divided over whether THIS IS MY BELOVED, by Walter Benton, was pornography or literary art when it fiA Perfect Antidote for Wartime Blues
Critics were divided over whether THIS IS MY BELOVED, by Walter Benton, was pornography or literary art when it first came out. That question really should have been answered by these lines from the very first poem in the book: "Because hate is legislated...written into/ the primer and the testament,/ shot into our blood and brain like vaccine or vitamins...I need love more than ever now..."
There's no doubt that Benton, who was born in Austria and lived later in the United States, was writing as an individual. However, considering that World War II was approaching its bloodiest worse when the book was first published in 1943, it's quite likely he was also speaking metaphorically on behalf of all humanity. Has anyone yet discovered a better antidote for the disease of international war than universal love?
Similarly, the great jazz and pop singer Arthur Prysock recorded what is now a classic spoken word version of the book (please see related CD review at Creative Thinkers International) in December 1968 when the Vietnam War had the world in tears. Small wonder, then, that a new generation marked indelibly by the Iraq War in 2007 is claiming both the book and CD version of "This Is My Beloved" for its own. In times like these, so much of what it has to say is exactly what we need to hear.
Rosemary Daniell started out as a poet who wrote lyrical verse on nature with such titles as "green frogs" and "black animals." Between those innocen Rosemary Daniell started out as a poet who wrote lyrical verse on nature with such titles as "green frogs" and "black animals." Between those innocent lyrical beginnings, which served largely to hone Daniell's mastery of her craft, and her volumes of noteworthy fiction and nonfiction, A Sexual Tour of the Deep South stands as a singular explosive event in the corpus of her work.
Crackling with the energies of self-liberation via a sudden focused expansion of consciousness, it is a uniquely significant document in the canon of womanist literature. Much of the imagery and details in A Sexual Tour of the Deep South are not for the mild-hearted or overly sensitive. The contents of the poetry swing back and forth between the erotically exceptional and the downright raunchy. One might nearly have expected Charles Baudelaire to compose these poems had he been a politically informed southern woman writing in the 1960s.
Whereas the book can be read with real pleasure on its more graphic levels, it assumes a deeper meaning when the erotic is accepted as a metaphor for the individual claiming all rights to her own being.
Aime Cesaire's Return to My Native Land, one of the great prose-poetry works of the twentieth century, was parented by notA PRODUCT OF LITERARY FUSION
Aime Cesaire's Return to My Native Land, one of the great prose-poetry works of the twentieth century, was parented by not one but three literary movements: the Negritude movement, the Harlem Renaissance, and French surrealism.
The book's very rich suffusion of cultural and political nuances may be attributed to the Harlem Renaissance and the Negritude movement while its linguistic dexterity and philosophical daring would have to acknowledge some allegiance to French surrealism. The result is a masterful examination of a soul simultaneously created by and torn between two cultural sensibilities: the European and the African.
Like James Baldwin, Albert Camus, and Frantz Fanon in their various works, Cesaire in Return to My Native Land take racism and class oppression to task at the same time that he delves most deeply into the greater nature of the human condition itself.