When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness

In When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness, Rowan Ricardo Phillips pushes African American poetry to its limits by unraveling “our desire to think of African American poetry as African American poetry.” Phillips reads African American poetry as inherently allegorical and thus “a successful shorthand for the survival of a poetry but unsuccessful shorthand for the sustenance of its poems.” Arguing in favor of the “counterintuitive imagination,” Phillips demonstrates how these poems tend to refuse their logical insertion into a larger vision and instead dwell indefinitely at the crux between poetry and race, “where, when blackness rhymes with blackness, it is left for us to determine whether this juxtaposition contains a vital difference or is just mere repetition.”