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From a Person Sitting in Darkness

New and Selected Poems

Southern Messenger Poets

208 pages / 5.50 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations


  Paperback / 9780807123140 / November 1998
  Hardcover / 9780807123133 / November 1998

With a nod toward the grounding inspiration of Mark Twain and James Baldwin in its opening epigraphs, this lush collection of free and formal verse—turning on multiple axes of race, religion, history, politics, and social issues—soars in exploration of the dark, troublesome visions of America. Gerald Barrax, “a black poet who makes familiar black attitudes agonizingly fresh” (Library Journal), speaks with ire and passion of those robbed—and those who rob them—of hope, of sight, of faith, of life. “Ask the West African what happened to his ancestors. / Ask the Native American what happened to his land. / Ask the Person Sitting in Darkness what happened to his light.”

But Barrax also croons—about the natural world and its creatures, about music, and about human love and relationships. Through the unswerving perspective of a black man, he widens the human experience, achieving a universality of tone. His poems find words for real feelings, and the color of a lover's skin is, ultimately, not very important. One hundred four poems in all, eighteen penned since his last book, From a Person Sitting in Darkness is the essence of a lyrical, sensual, unpredictable work. 

Gerald Barrax has published four previous volumes of poetry. He is former poet-in-residence and professor of English at North Carolina State University and lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

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