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Ntozake Shange’s classic, award-winning play encompassing the wide-ranging experiences of Black women, now with introductions by two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward and Broadway director Camille A. Brown.
From its inception in California in 1974 to its Broadway revival in 2022, the Obie Award–winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country for nearly fifty years. Passionate and fearless, Shange’s words reveal what it meant to be a woman of color in the 20th century.
First published in 1975, when it was praised by The New Yorker for “encompassing…every feeling and experience a woman has ever had,” for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf will be read and performed for generations to come. Now with new introductions by Jesmyn Ward and Broadway director Camille A. Brown, and one poem not included in the original, here is the complete text of a groundbreaking dramatic prose poem that resonates with unusual beauty in its fierce message to the world.
About the Author
Ntozake Shange (1948–2018) was a renowned playwright, poet, theater director, and novelist. Her body of work includes Obie Award–winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, Some Sing Some Cry with Ifa Bayeza, and the posthumous Dance We Do: A Poet Explores Black Dance and I Am an Old Woman. Among her numerous accolades are the Langston Hughes Medal for Literature, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Pushcart Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s 2018 Shelley Memorial Award and three AUDELCO awards. Ms. Shange’s work has been nominated for a Grammy, a Tony, and an Emmy.
"Extraordinary and wonderful...Ntozake Shange writes with such exquisite care and beauty that anyone can relate to her message." -The New York Times
"Celebrates the capacity to master pain and betrayals with wit, sister-sharing, reckless daring, and flight and forgetfulness if necessary. She celebrates most of all women's loyalties to women." -Toni Cade Bambara, Ms. Magazine
"These poems and prose selections are...rich with the author's special voice: by turns bitter, funny, ironic, and savage; fiercely honest and personal." -New York Post
"Ntozake Shange's extraordinary "choreopoem"...is a dramatic elegy for black women with an undercurrent message for everyone. Its theme is not sorrow...but courage. Its strength is its passion and its reality....An unforgettable collage of one woman's view of the women of her race, facing everything from rape to unrequited love....Wisdom and naivete go hand in hand. Wounds and dream intermingle; strong passions melt into simple courage." -L.I. Press/Newhouse Newspapers