For those under Collins’s spell, our plaint will always be the same: more. Give us more — more letters, more diary entries, more careful curation of the work. What we really want for her is more life. And more art, because what we have — even when raw, unfinished or this carelessly presented — is dazzling ... er voice and vision are idiosyncratic and pitiless, combining mischief and crisp authority, formal experimentation and deep feeling. More and more writers, I hazard, will start to sound like her. (I am fighting the impulse here myself; her voice is strong and contagious) ... There is the sleekness of her sentences, and the burrs. There is cool skepticism but also hunger for rapture. There is humor a knife’s edge from despair.
I hadn’t heard of Kathleen Collins before I read Notes from a Black Woman’s Diary. Now I can’t stop thinking of her and the many other groundbreaking writers — many of color, many women — who did not get their due when they were alive, or will never get their due, or failed to even get published ... Though these stories let the reader know they’re in the presence of a formidable talent, for me, the strongest pieces were the plays. Collins’ facility for transforming the chaotic thoughts of the psyche into poignant and revealing dialogue is on par with some of our most revered and celebrated modern playwrights ... Her lines flow naturally, never sounding false, yet always profound and provocative ... athleen Harris is no longer with us, but it isn’t too late to recognize her as a pioneer, honor her legacy, and support the work of the many extraordinary black women who have followed in her footsteps.
This new collection highlights [Collins'] strengths as dramatist, screenwriter, and short-story creator ... Collins limns incisive portraits of artistic, intellectual Black women stretched to their limits that glimmer against a background of racism, sexism, and just plain life. A timely reclamation of a remarkable voice.