Aquarius Press/Willow Books

The momentum for the Black Fire This Time anthology continues to grow and has reached the notice of the New York Review of Books. In today’s article, “A New Flame for Black Fire: What Will be the Legacy of the Black Arts Movement?” author and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Ishmael Reed describes Black Fire This Time as heralding a new golden age of Black writing for the 2000s.

Reed, a founder of the Black Arts Movement (BAM), believes that Black Fire This Time corrects the shortcomings of the original Black Fire of 1968, edited by Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal, which, in Reed’s opinion, had a “heavy-handed intolerance” for certain writers, especially women and LGBT writers. Black Fire This Time includes an abundance of such writers and  includes Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin, who were excluded in 1968 for various reasons.

In the article, Reed writes “Last year, McMillon and an assistant editor, Kofi Antwi, edited the first volume of an anthology, Black Fire—This Time, which includes BAM pioneers and new voices. Like Alain Locke’s The New Negro in the 1920s, Neal and Baraka’s Black Fire was a report about the state of Black writing arts at the time of its publication. Neal and Baraka broadened the pool of talent, but most of the contributors were men—a step backward from the proportion of women in The New Negro and in Nancy Cunard’s Negro Anthology (1934). McMillon and Antwi’s volume, for which I wrote the foreword, is more expansive than Black Fire…”

Written by Heather Buchanan-Gueringer — January 14, 2023