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Sweet Solitude
New and Selected Poems
Sweet Solitude
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Leonard A. Slade Jr. - Author
Excelsior Editions
Price: $40.00 
Hardcover - 148 pages
Release Date: August 2010
ISBN10: 1-4384-3345-X
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3345-5

Price: $21.95 
Paperback - 148 pages
Release Date: January 2011
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3344-8

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

New and selected poems on love, faith, and the African American experience.

Drawing deeply from the well of the African American experience, Leonard A. Slade Jr.’s poetry addresses a wide variety of subjects and themes, from beauty, family, and nature to racism, religion, and politics. Running throughout, however, are the importance of love, faith, and the human need to be connected to others. Included in Sweet Solitude are new poems, previously uncollected in book form, as well as selections from the author’s volumes of previously published poetry. These are poems of celebration and endurance for all readers.

Praise for the poetry of Leonard A. Slade Jr.

“When beautiful poetry emerges from its secret abode, we can only hope we have been wise enough to leave our soul’s door ajar, and that it will enter and find a home there. I have read [Leonard Slade’s] poetry, and I am the better for it, the wiser for it, and the happier for it.” — Maya Angelou

“A rhythmical and powerful voice we will long remember.” — Thelma Kiser, The Daily Independent (Ashland, Kentucky)

“Authentic and joyous celebrations of the human spirit.” — Ruthe Sheffey, Morgan State University

“The beauty of Slade’s poetry is the adequacy of their feeling and the fine images he discovers for their expressions. His poetry is a rich addition to our literary stores.” — Houston A. Baker Jr., Vanderbilt University

“In spare, unpretentious verse Slade asks us to think about racism, history, love, the beauty of nature, the homeless, old teachers, young daughters, political hypocrisy—and more. These are splendid, moving poems.” — Elizabeth Ammons, Tufts University

“Slade’s poetry can pierce the heart or kiss the soul.” — Kate Stephens, playwright and musician, Lexington, Kentucky

“Slade’s style flows easily from the freewheeling rhythm and call-and-response feel of ‘The Country Preacher’s Folk Prayer’ to the spare, aloof lines of ‘Cat.’ With clarity and grace, his poems evoke familial pride, faith, and appreciation for those small moments that recollect beauty and kindness.” — Nadine M. Knight, Whitman College

“‘The Vision of America’ in Sweet Solitude is a masterpiece, inspired by the greatest historic moment in my lifetime. Slade expresses his feelings in moving pieces of art.” — Edythe Scott Bagley, sister of Coretta Scott King

Leonard A. Slade Jr. is Professor of Africana Studies, Adjunct Professor of English, Past Director of the Humanistic Studies Doctoral Program and the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program, Collins Fellow, and Citizen Academic Laureate at the University at Albany–SUNY. He has published in many journals and magazines and is the author of thirteen books of poetry: Jazz After Dinner, also published by SUNY Press; Triumph; Another Black Voice: A Different Drummer; The Beauty of Blackness; I Fly Like a Bird; The Whipping Song; Vintage; Fire Burning; Pure Light; Neglecting the Flowers; Lilacs in Spring; Elisabeth and Other Poems; and For the Love of Freedom. He lives with his wife in Albany, New York.

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Table of Contents

I. From Another Black Voice:

A Different Drummer (1988)

The Black Man Speaks of Rivers, Part 2: A Tribute to Langston Hughes


The Black Madonna

The Anniversary

The Country Preacher’s Folk Prayer

God’s Gender

The Mansion

By the Side of the Road


Elegy for Therman B. O’Daniel

II. From The Beauty of Blackness (1989)

The Beauty of Blackness


Sleepless Now


When I Heard from the Tax Man

A Child’s Play

A Black Man’s Song


To an Apostle of Peace

III. From I Fly Like a Bird (1992)


Black Woman

His Professor



And Want No More

Garden Party

What Are You, Life?


We Mourn a Sweet Soul

IV. From The Whipping Song (1993)

The Whipping Song

Peace Will Come

For My Forefathers

The Street Man

Love Should Grow, Not Wither


A Plea for Peace

Before the Death of Dad

Winds of Change

V. From For the Love of Freedom (2000)

For the Love of Freedom

The Black Hair

Why Are You Laughing?

The Saint

A Song for the Black Woman

VI. From Vintage (1995)

There Will Be Blacks in Heaven


VII. From Pure Light (1996)

Pure Light

Calling All Black Men


Your Life Is Over for You If


In Praise of Shoeshines

So Happy

Innocence in Black and White

Budget Cuts

I Fly Away

How Great You Are

VIII. From Neglecting the Flowers (1997)

Black and Beautiful

Rapping My Way Home from an English Conference at Hunter College on March 22, 1997

Reverend Hotair

Neglecting the Flowers

Like Douglass

Bury Yourself Now

On the Death of Mothers



To Mephistopheles

Come, Prince of Peace

Good Manners


IX. From Lilacs in Spring (1998)

I Came, I Saw, I Dreamed

The Country Club in the Academy

Lilacs in Spring

Song for a Beautiful Lady

Boss Hogg

Thank You, Abe!

X. From Elisabeth and Other Poems (1999)

The Good Queen Bess

Mother Africa

Working on the Farm in 1947

Marry This Poem


Embden Pond

Robert Lewis (Our Samoyed)

XI. From Jazz After Dinner (2007)

Jazz After Dinner

And When I Die

I Am a Black Man

Black Philosophy

Morning After Morning


XII. New Poems (2008)



What I Need Is

I Want to Live While You Love Me

Highway to Love

I Do Love You



Claudia, Back Home

Elegy for Emmanuel




The Vision of America

The Geese

God’s Glory

The Thought

I Shall Pray

About the Author

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