Saturday, June 12, 2010

Reading Black Poetry

One week down, and we've covered a range of poetry, works by Phillis Wheatley, Robert Hayden, Opal Palmer Adisa, Elizabeth Alexander, Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, Natasha Trethewey, Kelly Norman Ellis, Traice Morris, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Margaret Walker, Dudley Randall, and of course, our man Langston Hughes.

Hughes, I'm reminded again and again as we cover his works, provides these wonderful windows into African American life and culture. And it's cool how Hughes was on the black studies tip before folks were even calling it black studies. At one moment, Hughes is giving voice to the tensions between a landlord and tenant and then at another moment, he's articulating the concerns of a black mother. Then at another moment, he's indicating that black Americans are, well, black American.

We'll keep reading works by Hughes and other black poets during the coming weeks, and we'll try to note some of our discoveries and observations here.


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