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LJ puts PRIMITIVE on list of 'Top Fall Poetry'

In one of its recent issues, Library Journal included Janice N. Harrington's Primitive on its list of "Top Fall Poetry: Great Reading Beyond the Basics from Veterans and Newcomers Alike."

According to the LJ review: "Early in her finely wrought new collection, a biographical and aesthetic study of African American painter Horace H. Pippin (1888-1946), Poulin and Kate Tufts honoree Harrington muses, “A Negro ‘primitive’ paints a self-portrait. But how? / What new freedom allows him to see, allows the art?” She proceeds to answer that question in forthright, muscular verse that ranges through Pippin’s life, from his World War I service to his triumphs and setbacks as a significant artist at a time when lynchings were common. Like a good painter, Harrington offers precise, grounded details, but she lets her poetry range widely."

A lyrical and biographical reflection on the art and life of Horace H. Pippin—the best-known African American artist of his time—Primitive offers a searching critique of the condescension to African American folk art as supposedly “primitive,” and it also critiques the underestimation of African American life and imagination in the broader American consciousness. Award-winning poet Janice N. Harrington connects readers to this fascinating, odds-defying artist, all while underscoring the human craving for artistic expression.

LJ's VERDICT? "What cripples—the wound or the scar? The can’t or the I can’t no more?” Harrington makes all readers wonder."

Primitive is available now at the BOA Bookstore.


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