The Sweet Breath of Life: A Poetic Narrative of the African-American Family is a 2004 photographic poetic narrative by Ntozake Shange and the photography collective Kamoinge Inc. The book was first published on October 26, 2004 through Atria Books and was edited by Frank Steward, the president of Kamoinge Inc.
The book depicts the various aspects of everyday urban African-American life through poetic narrative. Through poetic narrative and accompanying photographs, the book deals with various themes such as religion, identity, and representation.
Black Issues Book Review judges some of the photos to be outdated and that some of the poems felt more like journalism than poetry,[clarification needed] but also that when the poems and photography worked together they were "powerfully made" and "breathtaking".Curve rated the book highly, citing the photography as one of the book's highlights. The Tri-State Defender praised the project as "a wonderful blend of words and images that give definition to the beauty and wonder of contemporary African-American culture."