I Have Something to Say about This Big Trouble: Children of the Tenderloin Speak Out

Cecil Williams, Editor, Janice Mirikitani, Editor, Maya Angelou, Foreword by Glide Word Press $9.95 (124p) ISBN 978-0-9622574-1-4
This collection of drawings, poems and prose by children of the underclass in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood--with each child identified by name and age--is an ingratiating but unremarkable anthology that pales in comparison to other works on similar themes, such as those edited by Kenneth Koch ( Wishes, Lies, & Dreams ; Talking to the Sun ). One sampling here: ``Every day people walk down the street selling drugs. / People die one day at a time. / Some people. / Drug is bad for you. / Jail house. Peace. Love.'' With a primitive urban minimalism both verbal and visual, the children bear witness to the deprivations of their world (``I would consider it / good luck if my / Mom had some / money'') and affirm what is good in it (``A friend is someone / you can trust''). But depth of feeling is not borne out in consistently commonplace, even hackneyed language (``Martin Luther King was a great man. He helped black and white people. People liked Martin Luther King''). For all its good intentions, the anthology does not break new ground--or build on ground already broken. The editors are the reverend and social worker, respectively, of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, which sponsored the children's writing program. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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