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Darktown Follies: Poems

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  26 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Poetry. African American Studies. DARKTOWN FOLLIES, Amaud Jamaul Johnson's daring and surprising new collection of poems, responds to Black Vaudeville, specifically the personal and professional challenges African American variety performers faced in the early twentieth century. Johnson is fascinated by jokes that aren't funny--particularly, what it means when humor fails ...more
Paperback, 70 pages
Published November 1st 2013 by Tupelo Press (first published September 1st 2013)
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Craig Werner
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Johnson's second collection earns its place simply for "An Epistomology of Ralph Ellison's Articulation of the Blues as Explained by Mantan Moreland," a hilarious parody/homage to Ellison's definition of the "blues as an impulse to finger the jagged grain of a brutal experience." Where Ellison and his numerous critical descendants (myself included) concentrate on the philosophical and aesthetic implications of the "near-tragic near-comic lyricism" Ellison champions, Johnson comes down heavy on t ...more
Jeff
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Someone else here mentions, what I agree with, the open-handed intellectual acumen of the first section of this book, that excavates the forgotten figures of early 20C theatricals, vaudeville and chitin circuit, operates as a panorama, a fit form for considering remaindered cultural resources, and the poet's own self-cultivation. So, in a poem called "Pigmeat," after Pigmeat Markham, the chitlin circuit comedian and late blooming television star (on Laugh-In), Johnson writes a love poem through ...more
M
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Colored American Day
- The White City, 1893

They shuffle along, gliding through the pine straw
And peanut shells, the dust settling almost like
Cloud-cover around their feet. The children’s painted
Faces, their sticky mouths, their hands melting—
Yes, we danced for them. In passing, a boy says,
“You have the whitest teeth I’ve every seen.”
In this sea of curiosities, our skin like smoked
Glass on display. The main attraction,
Edison’s box of light and the miracle of those
Electric men. The contortionist, t
...more
Therese Broderick
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I will remember this book because I read it on Halloween, on a warm and rainy night, standing on my front porch. I'd read a few poems, then hand out candy to boisterous visitors wearing costumes, masks, and make-up. When the porch was quiet again, I'd read a few more poems. There are fun follies like Halloween, and there are tragic follies like those in this book. A worthy read, any season of the year.
Doralee Brooks
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a dense and rich collection to be read and read again. The theme of the degrading stereotype in popular culture is a provocative one. I admire Johnson's lyricism, his skill with channeling voices, and his beautiful intelligent eye for the historical, the social, and the individual.
Monica Shaughnessy
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent addition to anyone's bookshelf. I have many favorites..."Dusk in Andalusia" and "Colored American Day." But my favorite is "Cork." The experimental structure is unlike any I've seen before, and it holds a curious musicality. Stunning.
Carolyn Kerchof
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am hesitant to write a review for fear of sounding as inadequately enthusiastic as the writers quoted on the back cover, but every single one of these poems rocks my Alabama cotton socks.
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