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Lorenzo Thomas, assistant professor of English at the University of Houston-Downtown, was a member of the legendary Umbra workshop in the 1960's. This workshop drew young writers to the Lower East Side of New York City in search of their artistic voices. Reflecting on those years in a 1978 Callaloo essay, Thomas observes, "cultural black nationalism of our moment did not spring forth from inspiration of the New York Times or the Late News," but was the result of cultural transmissions from the griots of the folk tradition to these young writers. Now an internationally acclaimed poet and critic, he continues to receive inspiration from this source. His collections of poetry include Chances are Few (1979), The Bathers (1981) and Sound Science (1992). He is a recipient of two Poets Foundation awards and the Lucille Medwick Prize.


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