by John Sinclair. 225 pages. Surregional Press, 906 Pauline St., New Orleans, LA 70117.
Book Review by Michael Basinski
A poet is a rare thing and Ah! Here we have some poems by a poet ’ one John Sinclair. He has a history and a history in music MC5 ’ Detroit ’ the 1960s, White Panthers, and what he writes about is the history of the blues! It’s a natural. But he is just not a white guy writing about the blues. He is more it than I thought could be. As a poet he can be. The book is introduced by Amiri Baraka, which is about as good as an intro and sanction as one can get when dealing with Black music. The book has many discographies of the many blue participants ’ the old gang ’ Robert Johnson, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters and the like. And plenty of references and it is a book that all blues lover must have! Sinclair makes the history of these blues artists into a poetic history ’ not an easy thing to do! I mean ’ making history into poetry can come out crap but not here, Sinclair ’ with magic and the devil and passion he makes poetry, emphatic and sensitive, an imagination a blue wonder. The poems short burst lines knitted to a clear note that lingers deep into the humid night.