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Depressed. That’s how readers will feel after sampling Testimony: Young African-Americans on Self-Discovery and Black Identity (Beacon Press), an anthology edited by Georgetown University law student Natasha Tarpley. Testimony‘s literary value rests in such poetry as minkah makalani’s “visitations,” which captures emotion-wrenching prison visits: “steel breathes 3 weeks in my chest/already i know the fire of fists/how men cry when opened like fish/how sunlight falls cold through a web of bars.” And there are a number of promising voices here—Michael Datcher, Taigi Smith, Tracy E. Hopkins, Sarah Van’t Hul, and essayist/editor Tarpley herself among them. Yet Testimony also serves up an overwhelming amount of bitching and moaning about the obvious ills of racism, the hardships associated with loving relationships, and the physical evidence of black self-hatred. It is disappointing to find that even 30 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the twentysomething black intelligentsia still celebrates these problems. Here is a book where pain and hatred scream, and rail-thin hope struggles to grow. Tarpley and contributors Yona Harvey, Jelani Cobb Jr., Yao Bhoke Anto, and Ta-Nehisi Coates read at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at Vertigo Books.