Harlem Gallery: Book 1, The Curator
New York: Twayne Publisher, 1965. Octavo. Grey boards with foxing to the top edge of the text block and a slight bow to the back board. Jacket shows evidence of rubbing to the crown of the spine and foxing along the back cover and flap. 173 pages. First edition, inscribed by the author on the free end paper. Very good.
A fictional gallery curator provides the central point of view in the poem’s discussions of Black art and life, but three major characters, all practicing artists, dramatically amplify the reader’s view of the black artist’s dilemma and achievement. Stanzas in the style of blues music punctuate the portraits, reinforcing Tolson’s points or offering ironic commentary. A modernist high spot (but all too often a blind spot).
"The lie of the artist is the only lie
for which a mortal or god should die."