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Untitled

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  Lord,
              when you send the rain
              think about it, please,
              a little?
      Do
              not get carried away
              by the sound of falling water,
              the marvelous light
              on the falling water.
          I
              am beneath that water.
              It falls with great force
              and the light
Blinds
              me to the light.

James Baldwin, "Untitled" from Jimmy’s Blues. Copyright © 2014 by The James Baldwin Estate. Reprinted by permission of Beacon Press.
Source: Jimmy's Blues and Other Poems (Beacon Press, 2014)
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Untitled

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  • A novelist and essayist of considerable renown, James Baldwin bore articulate witness to the unhappy consequences of American racial strife. Baldwin’s writing career began in the last years of legislated segregation; his fame as a social observer grew in tandem with the civil rights movement as he mirrored blacks’ aspirations, disappointments, and coping strategies in a hostile society. Tri-Quarterly contributor Robert A. Bone declared that Baldwin’s publications “have had a stunning impact on our cultural life” because the author “... succeeded in transposing the entire discussion of American race relations to the interior plane; it is a major breakthrough for the American imagination.” In his novels, plays, and essays alike, Baldwin explored the psychological implications of racism for both the oppressed and the oppressor. Best-sellers such as Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time acquainted wide audiences with his highly personal observations...

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