• Firespitter

    Jayne Cortez; drawings by Mel Edwards.


    New York: Bola Press, 1982. Octavo. Stapled pictorial paper wraps, edges nicked, mild toning, some smudges and a light crease afftecting the rear wrap, minor foxing on the fore-edge. 47 pages. First edition. Very good. 


     An important contributor to the Black Arts Movement, Cortez's first husband was jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Her second husband, the sculptor Melvin Edwards, contributed the drawings to this volume. Most of her work from the early 1970s onwards was issued by Bola Press, the publishing company she founded. Cortez preferred to name inspirations rather than influences. Those with whom she identified included Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, Aimé Césaire, Léon Damas, Christopher Okigbo, Henry Dumas, Amiri Baraka, Richard Wright, and Federico García Lorca. Her words were usually written, chanted, and spoken in a rhythmic repetition that resembled African and Caribbean drumming.


    "There are no simple explanations

    not for the excesses

    not for the accumulations

    not for lips of magnetic lava

    not for the liver of explosive slits

    not for the heart

               ready to shoot off like a volcano"


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      Santa Cruz, California


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