Perhaps because I feel there are lessons to be learned from the African-American experience for immigrant Muslims in America today, or simply because I find James Baldwin’s essays brilliant, I’ve been looking him up. Here’s Baldwin reviewing Langston Hughes for the NYT (1959):
Every time I read Langston Hughes I am amazed all over again by his genuine gifts–and depressed that he has done so little with them. A real discussion of his work demands more space than I have here, but this book contains a great deal which a more disciplined poet would have thrown into the waste-basket (almost all of the last section, for example).
If only, among Pakistanis, we had similar critics now with the intellectual courage and honesty to take on the second-rate writing that passes for Pakistani English language literary production these days. Hasn’t anyone noticed how god-awful much of it is?
Some other notes: