16 November 2016

Cimetière du Père-Lachaise (continued): #54: James Emanuel

Inside a smooth stone,
without smashing it open,
I found this. Just think.'

James Emanuel was a poet born in Alliance, Nebraska, and although he wrote thirteen books he remains a little known writer. He is accredited with developing a new literary genre, the jazz-and-blues haiku, and at the City College of New York he taught the college's first class on black poetry. He left for France in the late 1960s, one of the university's he taught at being Toulouse, and a book of his poetry is called A Black Man Abroad: The Toulouse Poems (1978). When he son killed himself in Los Angeles in the early eighties after being beaten up by cops he vowed never to return to the land of his birth.

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