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James Baldwin software art by Joe Williams for Blacksoftware.com Shared in honor of The Year of James Baldwin acknowledging Baldwin's 90th birthday August 2, 2014.

James Baldwin software art by Joe Williams for Blacksoftware.com Shared in honor of The Year of James Baldwin acknowledging Baldwin’s 90th birthday August 2, 2014.

“There is a ‘sanctity’ involved with bringing a child into this world: it is better than bombing one out of it.”—James Baldwin’s book The Price of the Ticket

“Sociologically, politically, psychologically, spiritually, it was never enough for him [James Baldwin] to categorize himself as one thing or the other: not just black, not just sexual, not just American, nor even just as a world-class literary artist. He embraced the whole of life the way the sun’s gravitational passion embraces everything from the smallest wandering comet to the largest looming planet…” –– Aberjhani from article The Quotable James Baldwin

If you had to guess what smokin’ hot actress Kerry Washington, Hollywood big-timer Jake Gyllenhaal, and the Quotable Poet all had in common what would you say? Besides the obvious fact that they’re all talented creatives in their way?

The answer would be that they’ve all gone on record blowin’ up books by James Baldwin. Kerry Washington did the YouTube “Importance of Reading” literacy video about how she fell in love with Baldwin’s “middle road” racial politics. Gyllenhaal was part of the launch for The Year of James Baldwin. And QP Aberjhani’s got at least half a dozen articles, reviews, and essays about Baldwin online––where the poems at QP? The latest story-piece is called The Year of James Baldwin Now in Full Classic Literary Swing.

When Jake Gyllenhaal went all intellectual in a public discussion of a novel by Baldwin it caught a lot of people off guard. Why was that? Can’t the man look studly and be smart too? The QP has been writing about Baldwin for years and the 2 authors have a lot in common. Being African-American male authors is just part of it. They’re both also multi-genre authors and both are African-Americans who have spent a lot of time outside the United States.

Most readers know Baldwin for his essays, novels, and short stories. Turns out he wrote poetry too (anybody under 25 who say they knew that already is probably lying.) This is a short one from his brand new book of poems is called Jimmy’s Blues with an intro from Nikky Finney.


The mint bed is in
bloom: lavender haze
day. The grass is
more than green and
throws up sharp and
cutting lights to
slice through the
plane tree leaves. And
on the cloudless blue
I scribble your name.
–James Baldwin (from Jimmy’s Blues)


If you check out the Amazon page for the book you’ll see where Maya Angelou described Baldwin as “a giant” and the Booklist Review says “Poetry was the current that powered his novels, essays, and plays…” That’s more than enough to join the Quotable Poet in giving Baldwin a shout-out for his 90th birthday on August 2nd and for checking what The Year of James Baldwin is all about.

Jimmys Blues book of poetry by James Baldwinpost by MS/24