November 27, 1978 12:00 PM

by Ntozake Shange (St. Martin’s Press, $7.95)

The sudden burst of verse from America’s foremost black female writers has created, coincidentally, a strange harmony. Each woman has her own cadence and individuality, yet all three poets have emerged with a common theme: love of one’s self. Shange (who wrote the play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide…) is the most hard-line egoist, but her work is often bewildering. Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings) and Giovanni (Spin a Soft Black Song) are more engaging and accessible in style. Offhands Giovanni: “But I sit writing/a poem/about my habits/which while it’s not/a great poem/is mine.”

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