Jazz After Dinner
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Poems of celebration and endurance.
From "I Am a Black Man"
I am a Black man
my history written with blood
some sweet songs of sorrow
are composed for my soul
can be seen plowing in the fields
Can be heard
in the night
In these poems of celebration and endurance, Leonard A. Slade Jr. addresses the human need to be connected not only to the physical "now," but also to the other lives and other music we pass through during our lives. Slade's unique voice exposes the sweetness, the sorrow, and the humor of life's celebrations and struggles, but above all is the importance of love and the reliance on God and in faith for transcendence. These are poems to help us to endure, to grow, and to triumph.
Leonard A. Slade Jr. is Professor and Chair of the Department of Africana Studies, Director of the Doctor of Arts in Humanistic Studies Program, and Director of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He has published in many journals and magazines and is the author of fifteen books, including eleven books of poetry: Another Black Voice: A Different Drummer, The Beauty of Blackness, I Fly Like a Bird, The Whipping Song, Vintage, Fire Burning, Pure Light, Neglecting the Flowers, Lilacs in Spring, Elisabeth and Other Poems, and For the Love of Freedom.
"I have read [Slade's] poetry, and I am the better for it, the wiser for it, and the happier for it." — Dr. Maya Angelou, Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University
"Jazz after Dinner is a significant volume of poetry. Slade's poems reek of life, jazz, and the bebop rhythms of a Langston Hughes—celebration and endurance, yes, but with a little toe-dancing as well. What more do we ask of our poets? Slade is a bit of a British Romantic, but the American kind, one who also says, 'Yassir. Look at me and be healed.'" — Ginny MacKenzie, author of Skipstone
"Purity of sound, sense, and emotion are the hallmarks of Jazz After Dinner, distillations of Slade's decades in the lonely groves of poetry. And in the same collection of melodious love poems come powerful poems of social protest calling on us to remember captives on slave ships, slave mothers, Montgomery and Memphis, and the dream of Dr. King. In the tradition of Thoreau, the exuberant Slade recreates his world as surely as if he were living at Walden Pond." — George Hendrick, coauthor of Why Not Every Man? African Americans and Civil Disobedience in the Quest for the Dream
"Leonard A. Slade Jr.'s Jazz After Dinner raises our consciousness of American history and of our traditions, legacies, and progress. Paying tribute to inspirational figures, including his parents, Martin Luther King Jr., and Zora Neale Hurston, these poems call for reflection, gratitude, and knowledge. Slade's style flows easily from the freewheeling rhythm and call-and-response feel of 'The Country Preacher's Folk Prayer' to the spare, aloof lines of 'Cat.' With clarity and grace, his poems evoke familial pride, faith, and appreciation for those small moments that recollect beauty and kindness." — Nadine M. Knight, Harvard University