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Reviews 161 He was briefly in this country, for a Latin American bookfair at NYU. He is esteemed by his coUeagues throughout the hemisphere. His method is to move from the general to the particular, as his friend and countryman Eduardo Bahr has pointed out. He's a major voice and demands translators into English who can do better than I did with these brief excerpts and fragments. Honduran Uterary society is smaU; seventy percent of the population is stiU illiterate. Ifyou go to Tegoo, you're apt to bump into Sosa, as I did once, downtown, at the Guaymuras Bookstore: a slim tan-colored man with a moustache, friendly and genial, though, at present antagonistic to the triumph of "gringoism" in Honduras, and thoughout the Isthmus. Sosa has supported the Revolution in Nicaragua, while managing to keep the respect of poets throughout Central America, who are not partisans. "He's an enlightened man," says the Nicaraguan poet, Mario Cajina Vega, hardly a Sandinista fan: '? poet of honest compassion who has earned our respect as a man ofletters from a benighted social order ...." As no less than Sandino was served by the Honduran man of letter, Froylan Turcios, in his time, until they had a falling out, so Sosa has served the cause of enlightenment, not just in Honduras but throughout the Isthmus, as a writer, publicist, and poet. Of Turcios himself, he writes, in one of his Uterary essays in the volume Armed Prose, he used "the pen of combat" against the invasive outsiders (the Gringos)." That is also apt and fitting as a description of Sosa, writing in Honduras, about an illiterate peasantry, iU-served by those who dominate and exploit them. RICHARD ELMAN TheAutobiography ofAssata Shakur by Assata Shakur. London: Zed Books, Ltd., 1987; and Westport (Connecticut): Lawrence HiU & Co., 1987. pp. xiv + 274. $18.95 (cloth), $9.95 (paper). The last thing you might expect Assata Shakur (JoAnne Chesimard) to say in her autobiography is that she considers herself lucky. This is a woman brought to trial eight times, for bank robberies, the kidnapping of a drug dealer, and murder (with seven of the trials resulting in acquittal, dismissal, or a hung jury). This is a woman harassed bythe F.B.I., and eventually imprisoned in New Jersey, where she was shockingly mistreated. Yet the word luck recurs in TheAutobiography ofAssata Shakur, written after her escape from prison, in her place of exile, Cuba. The spirit that shines through this autobiography moved the attorney Lennox S. Hinds, who has written the foreword to the book, to speak of her as "this sensitive, intellectuaUy gifted, and Ufe-passionate child." It moved Amina Baraka, just after the book's pubUcation in this country, to dedicate one of her poems to Assata Shakur, during a reading for Black History Month. Assata Shakur considers herself lucky to have been so often in the right places at the right times when things were happening in the late sixties. About Manhattan Community CoUege, which she attended then, she writes: "i had truly lucked up. i had gone back to school at a time when struggle and activity were growing, when Black consciousness and nationalism were on the upswing, i had also lucked up on the school"—in part because of its organizations Uke the Golden Drum Society, a Black cultural and educational group. She also teUs us she is fortunate in friends: "If there is such a thing as luck, i've had an abundance of it, and the ones who have brought it to me are my friends and comrades. My wild, bighearted friends, with their pretty ways and pretty thoughts, have given me more happiness than i will ever deserve." Society does not dictate to Assata Shakur what she should consider "lucky" or "right" or "true" or "beautiful." Through her experiences in the wilderness ofcivilization, she finds her own vision, which seems to be a major source of her strength, her bodacious spirit. She reveals her vision of things in, for example, a vignette of one wild, big-hearted friend she made in prison, a woman named Eva. "Eva was a huge sister," she writes; "she weighed 162 the minnesota review...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 161-162
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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