Show Business: Trying to Be Nice

"I was always what you call a nice child," says Poet Ntozake Shange. "I did everything nice. I was the nicest and the most correct. I did my homework. I was always on time. I never got into fights. People now ask me, 'Where did all this rage come from?' And I just smile and say it's been there all the time, but I was just trying to be nice."

When she was 19, newly separated from her law-student husband, she tried to kill herself. She put her head in a gas oven, but her aunt pulled her out. Since then she...

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