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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tribute for Mari Evans

A Modest Tribute for Mari Evans


                For those of us who know we are not a United States Census category, nightly reinventing ourselves to please everyone other than ourselves, Mari Evans (July 16, 1923 --     ) is an Afrikan, a woman, and then a writer to read, a writer to be looked on, an Afrikan woman to be loved for having said



    on me and be



                In her statement on poetics for Angles of Ascent (New York: W. W. Norton, 2013), Evans wrote:


If there are those outside the Black experience who hear the music and can catch the beat, that is serendipity; I have no objections.  But when I write, I write according to the title of poet Margaret Walker’s classic: “for my people” (42).


When we read with discipline, the severe discipline of Evans’s craft, we pay respect to her own classic: “I Am A Black Woman.”


                One proper celebration of Evans’s lifetime achievement on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, is reading


I Am A Black Woman. New York: William Morrow, 1970.

Nightstar 1973-1978. Los Angeles: UCLA Center for Afro-American Studies, 1981.

A Dark & Splendid Mass. New York: Harlem River Press, 1992.


This is merely a beginning.  The continuing tribute must include reading her books for the young, Where Is All the Music (Heritage 1968), her works for theater --- River of My Song, Boochie, Portrait of A Man, Eyes: A New Musical (1995) ---her anthology Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation (New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1984) ---reading her works published in magazines, especially “Decolonization As Goal/Political Writing As Device.” First World 2.3 (1979): 34-39.


                The objective of tribute, celebration, and project is to read and remember Mari Evans and be renewed.


Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

July 3, 2013

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