Reviewed by PQ Contributing Editor Brian Fanelli
Geoffrey Jacques issues a bold claim in A Change in the Weather, that some of the most well-known American modernist poets, including T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams, owe a debt to what Jacques labels the “African American Imaginary,” that is the influence of black culture during the late 1800s and early 1900s. While supporting his thesis, Jacques references several other theorists, including everyone from Freud to Kant, but some of Jacques’ core arguments and chapters would have been strengthened with additional analysis of literary works from authors he mentions often too briefly. Despite its flaws, A Change in the Weather begins a discussion about the influence of the “African American Imaginary” on canonized modernist writers, and at the very least, the book should spark additional discussion, critical analysis, and debate.