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Ishmael Reed (b. 1938)


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Al Young

(b. 1939)

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Mississippi-born novelist and poet, long resident in California, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (1969), and a teacher of creative writing at Stanford. His first, brief novel, Snakes (1970), is the story of a black jazz musician; Who Is Angelina? (1975) depicts a young black woman in quest of herself; Sitting Pretty (1976) is the autobiographical recollection of a black man, told in the vernacular and ostensibly into a tape recorder; and Ask Me Now (1980) presents an overage black professional basketball player in retirement. Young's poems, also drawing on the experiences and attitudes of his race, and obviously influenced by Whitman, appear in Dancing (1969), The Song Turning Back into Itself (1971), Geography of the Near Past (1976), and The Blues Don't Change (1982). Bodies & Soul (1981) is an anecdotal memoir.

Subjects: Literature

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