New York: Society of the Umbra, (1967). First Edition. 8vo, 66 (4)pp; original wrappers printed in three colors, stapled. Spine toned and a bit abraded, but intact; wrappers bright and unsoiled. Item #206283
Conceived as a periodical by the loosely-tied and short-lived proto-Black Arts Umbra Poets Workshop on New York's Umbra was initially edited by Henderson and James W. Thompson. The workshop splintered over an editorial disagreement around the second issue, in 1963 (The argument concerned the inclusion of a poem by Ray Durem attacking President John F. Kennedy in the aftermath of his assassination). Henderson kept the Umbra title going well after the demise of the workshop, but it was erratic and never took on the characteristics of a true periodical, i.e. with uniformity of presentation or scheduling. This illustrated anthology, now listing Thompson as "Editor Emeritus," was only the third issue to appear. The contributors are extensive range of popular front radicals, downtown hipsters, and Black Arts progenitors, including Langston Hughes, Calvin C. Hernton, Oscar Brown, Jr, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Henry Dumas, Victor Hernandez Cruz (still in high school), Bob Kaufman, Alice Walker, Conrad Kent Rivers, Yusef Rahman, and Allen Ginsberg among many others. The first seven pages are devoted to the poetry of the other-worldly Jazz musician/composer Sun Ra. An important publication in the development of the nascent Black Arts movement.