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Contents Language in Our Blood vii Radiclani Clytus I. Essays Red3 Erasure4 An Ode to Raccoon 16 Sorrow Songs and Flying Away: Religious Influence on Black Poetry 19 A Needful Thing 29 Crossroads32 A Supreme Signifier: Etheridge Knight 34 The Devil’s Secretary 37 The Blue Machinery of Summer 52 The Blood Work of Language 61 Son of Pop: Floyd D. Tunson’s Neo-­ blues 65 Conundrum72 Clarence Major’s Cosmopolitan Vision 79 Dark Waters 83 The Method of Ai 96 II. Interviews Collaboration and the Wishbone 107 Three Shades of Past 126 Excursions138 Getting a Shape 148 The Wolf/Interview157 Celebration and Confrontation: Walt Whitman 164 III. Commentaries Notes from a Lost Notebook 179 You Made Me 190 More Than a State of Mind 193 Eros, Words 195 A Letter to Poetry 196 Small Illuminations 199 How Poetry Helps People to Live Their Lives 212 Picking a Lock to the Mind-­ Jail in the City of Asylum 214 A Note from The Best American Erotic Poems 219 The Mission of American Poets and Writers Visiting the 2008 Kolkata Book Fair 220 Rewriting Dante 221 ...