In the introduction to this compelling account of 1960s African American jazz poetry, Jean-Philippe Marcoux quotes the poet Lorenzo Thomas on the figure of the African griot during the Black Arts Movement. Explaining how avant-garde jazz musicians are portrayed as griots in the New Black Poetry, Thomas writes: “Between 1960 and 1970 an outpouring of poems focused on musicians in the role of griots. … All these poems issued from the idea that the blues singer or jazz saxophone player is … the contemporary griot—a role that the poets, of course, already accepted for themselves” (9). While the role of the griot is often noted in studies of Black Arts poetry, no book has concentrated so intensively and persuasively on the importance of this role for African American poetry as Jazz Griots.

Jazz Griots does not propose a comprehensive account of the Black Arts...

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