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African American Literature Larry Neil

Larry Neil uses the statement; “Poetry is a concrete function, an action” to address the role played by poetry in the black society. Through this statement, Neil views poetry as the only way that black people can liberate themselves from white oppression and dominion. As a function, Larry views poetry as a weapon that encompasses all spheres of the black society that yearn for attention. Without abstraction, poems act as physical entities that expose the evils in society. It further unites the Black people to their art. Furthermore, as a concrete function, poetry is used by Black artists to address the spiritual and cultural needs of the society. Since the Black artist is opposed to the alienation from society, poetry is used a concrete function that speaks to the needs of the society.

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The view of Larry Neil concerning poetry as a concrete function can be seen as a continuation of earlier thinking concerning black art aesthetic. Earlier, poetry was seen as bringing revolution to cultural ideas. The plays and concerts that poetry presented shuttered the illusion that Black people had towards White politics and awakened them to the meaning of their lives. The theatre is viewed as the most social of all the arts. It is where the confrontation between the black radical and the white liberal in Third world and western society is depicted. Though some artists argue that art need not have a function, the aesthetic impulse is formulated to counter this belief. Important plays such as the Black Mass and the Slave ship depict a deep lyricism and spiritual outlook of the world. The black arts ideology is further presented by artists to strip the challenges of the black community in a contemporary world. The aim of these playwrights is to expose the internal historical conflict of searching for a black manhood. They represent a society that yearns to picture the world from their point of view.

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