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Ntozake Shange

(b. 1948)

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New Jerseyborn author, graduated from Barnard (1970), in 1971 changed her original name, Paulette Williams, which she called a slave name because the first one derived from a man and the second from an irrelevant Anglo-Saxon culture, to a Zulu combination meaning “she who comes with her own things” and “she who walks like a lion.” Her first successful work was For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf (1975), which she called a “choreopoem,” a stage production loosely combining poetry, dance, and music in evoking experiences of black women. It was followed by “A Photograph: A Study of Cruelty”(1977), an unpublished musical poem/play, and “Where the Mississippi Meets the Amazon”(1977), a collaborative work in the same vein. Sassafras (1976) is a novel, Natural Disasters and Other Festive Occasions (1977), poems and prose, Nappy Edges (1978), poems, and See No Evil (1984), brief writings.

Subjects: Literature

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