Why the Black Hole Sings the Blues, by Ishmael Reed
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The poems in this new collection from Ishmael Reed were written between 2007 and 2020. They range from poems based on events that occurred around Reed's house to cataclysmic space events. Some of the poems were commissioned. ”Moving Richmond” was part of a public art installation created by Mildred Howard. The poem, in huge letters forged into weathering steel billboards greets passengers who enter the new Bay Area mass transit hub in Richmond, California. Other poems were commissioned by musicians. ”Hope Is The Thing With Feathers” was performed by Gregory Porter. “Red Summer, 2015” appeared in print first and then was set to music by David Murray. Reed writes, "The longest poem in the book, “Jazz Martyrs,” was begun when Reed learned about the number of black Jazz greats who didn’t live past the age of forty. "I have been fortunate to live beyond the age of 80," says Reed. "I’ve found out who my best friends are. The ones who got me there."