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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

 

Look

    on me and be

renewed.

 

                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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