Though Baldwin is perhaps best known as an essayist and novelist, he wrote poetry as well. Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems was published last month by Beacon Press. It has an introduction by Nikky Finney.
“Staggerlee Wonders,” the first poem in the book, which is written in the voice of a blunt, African-American character, is especially striking in light of this week’s news cycle: “My days are not their days. / My ways are not their ways. / I would not think of them, / one way or the other, / did not they so grotesquely / block the view / between me and my brother.”