Dingane Joe Goncalves, the Journal of Black Poetry & Small Non-Commercial Black Journals

Article excerpt

The three major publishing institutions are Dudley Randall's Detroit-based Broadside Press (which by the way re-emerged and continues to operate today); Johnson publications, Hoyt Fuller edited Negro Digest/Black World; and The Journal of Black Poetry published and edited by Joe Goncalves, aka Dingane. Between these three institutions hundreds of poets were published and over thousands of poems distributed in the Black community of the USA and worldwide....

Although] its circulation was not as large [as Negro Digest/Black World ... a circulation ... over 100,000 ... the largest literary magazine in American history], The Journal of Black Poetry which published 19 issues between the mid sixties and the mid seventies, is one of the most vibrant examples of an independently published, non-academic poetry journal in the history of American publishing.

--Kalamu ya Salaam, "What Is Black Poetry"

Dingane Joe Goncalves became Black Dialogue's poetry editor and, as more and more poetry poured in, he conceived of starting the Journal of Black Poetry. Founded in San Francisco, the first issue was a small magazine with mimeographed pages and a lithographed cover. Up through the summer of 1975, the journal published nineteen issues and grew to over one hundred pages. Publishing a broad range of more than five hundred poets, its editorial policy was eclectic. Special issues were given to guest editors who included Ahmed Alhamisi, Don L. Lee(Haki R. Madhubuti), Clarence Major, Larry Neal, Dudley Randall, Ed Spriggs, and Askia Toure. In addition to African Americans, African, Caribbean, Asian, and other international revolutionary poets were presented.

--Kalamu ya Salaam, "Historical Overviews of The Black Arts Movement"

Goncalves (Dingane), an occasional poet, is unique in his intellectual typographical approach to ideas (see Black Fire), but his service to black poetry has been more obvious in his work as founder-editor of the Journal of Black Poetry. He also served as poetry editor of Black Dialogue. A quiet, but steady, influence on the new black poetry, he has written some of the most informed criticism to come out of the period. Currently [1976; now lives in Atlanta, Georgia] he runs/operates New Day Bookstore in San Francisco, where the journal and its press are headquartered(Source: Eugene B. Redmond, DrumVoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry, A Critical History(1976), p. 408).

One of the most important results of the creation of Black Dialogue in terms of the Black Arts movement was that it led to the creation of the third important Bay Area journal, the Journal of Black Poetry(JBP), in 1966. The editor of JBP, Dingane Joe Goncalves, raised in Boston, was a leader of CORE in the Bay Area. In fact, it was in the San Francisco CORE office that the visual artist and poet Edward Spriggs no doubt strengthened, if not actually forged, Goncalves's ties to the various black political and cultural circles centered on San Francisco State. Goncalves and Spriggs(who soon relocated to New York) joined the staff of Black Dialogue on which Spriggs served as the East Coast correspondent and Goncalves at the poetry editor. Marvin X was fiction editor.

When Black Dialogue received far more worthwhile poetry than it could possibly print, Goncalves saw the need for a new journal devoted to black poetry. The result was JBP--on which Spriggs worked too, as a regional corresponding editor from Harlem. In many ways the project of JBP was much like that of Black Dialogue: to allow black writers with or without wider reputations to speak to each other, to try out their voices. Again, much like the new avant-garde outside the Black Arts movement as well as within it, JBP emphasized process over finished product.

However JBP became far more than a journal of poetry. It published criticism, reviews, and news about black cultural and political movements sent in from all over the United States(and beyond). …