Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press

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Leora Skolkin-Smith

Thanks for this astute critique of Reed, whom I remember years ago as being thought of as "revolutionary" in that sense of him introducing rythmns and allusions in his work that were fresh and new, even the language "Mumbo Jumbo" had an cadence that was considered a way African rythmns could be an essential part of his story-telling. I think because he was more about these rythmns and the political rage of his times, as was Grace Paley or IB Singer daring to use Yiddish cadences and words in their Jewish work, or a Latino writer introducing Hispanic idioms now in contemporary work. Reed feels less effective in retrospect. That is, I think he was about the subversive power of ethnic sounds and words,injected literature, to be heard as shouts into a mainstream primarily white and male and Christian and those words were in themselves freshly part of his art. The words themselves were a kind of voodoo spell. But time and era-limited. We lose the urgency of his work now, that power.

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