A few words about art from James Baldwin

“For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.” (James Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues”)

My new students sometimes ask me to name my favorite writer, which is impossible, but I was just re-reading “Sonny’s Blues” today and I realized that James Baldwin always makes my hair stand up. His prose lays bare the suffering human soul, which makes sense for a preacher’s son. Anyway, who knows who my favorite author is (not me), but today I’m happy to remember how very much I love Baldwin.


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