African American Poets: Lives, Works, and Sources

Overview

Covering 46 poets from more than two centuries of African American literary history, this biocritical dictionary is an important contribution to any reference collection. The poets are situated within their historical and literary context, and for each a brief biographical sketch is given, with information on the poet's personal history, education, influences, and accomplishments. Each entry examines the poet's work as a whole, with a discussion of selected important poems and their recurrent themes. Students and...

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African American Poets: Lives, Works, and Sources

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Overview

Covering 46 poets from more than two centuries of African American literary history, this biocritical dictionary is an important contribution to any reference collection. The poets are situated within their historical and literary context, and for each a brief biographical sketch is given, with information on the poet's personal history, education, influences, and accomplishments. Each entry examines the poet's work as a whole, with a discussion of selected important poems and their recurrent themes. Students and interested readers will gain a good appreciation for the stylistic features and artistic contributions made by these African American poets. For further research, each essay concludes with a list of the poet's published book-length works, anthologies where their poetry appears, and information on reference resources.

This reference work is introduced with an insightful overview of the significant developments and contributions in African American poetry, from the 18th century poetry of Phillis Wheatley, through the major arts movements including the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movements of the 1960s, up to the present time. This thoughtful dictionary explores both the aesthetic and the social functions of the literary movements, as well as the individual poet's contributions to the body of poetic output. Covered here are numerous contemporary African American voices such as Maya Angelou, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Rita Dove. Alongside the names synonymous with the Harlem Renaissance, such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Langston Hughes, are lesser known poets about whom students often have trouble finding information but whose contributions are no less significant.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-A comprehensive snapshot of African-American poets and poetry from the 18th century to the present. Pettis's introduction gives a thorough overview of its evolution from a "politically active art form" to an intimate means of exploring "personal issues." The alphabetically arranged entries cover prolific poets such as Maya Angelou, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Nikki Giovanni, as well as lesser-known writers such as Jupiter Hammon, who published in the 1700s, and Ai, a 1999 National Book Award winner. Most entries are accompanied by a black-and-white photograph of the poet; all include biographical information, literary criticism, comparisons to other writers of the time, references to specific works, and any awards or honors the poet has received. Historical context is explored, as are any noted literary influences. Every selection is followed by an extensive bibliography; an index and table of contents allow readers to search by author, subject, or work. The scope and depth of this book make it extremely useful.-Julie Webb, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville, KY Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Pettis (English, North Carolina State U.) profiles 46 poets, most still alive, but also several from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and as far back as George Moses Horton (1797-1883). In addition to many of lesser fame, they include Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, Countee Cullen, Rita Dove, Langston Hughes, Ishmael Reed, Sonia Sanchez, Jean Toomer, and Phillis Wheatley. She includes editions of their work and bibliographies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313311178
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/30/2002
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

JOYCE PETTIS is Professor of English at North Carolina State University, where she teaches courses in African American Literature. She is the author of numerous articles on Margaret Walker, Charles Chestnutt, and others, and of the award winning Toward Wholeness in Paule Marshall's Fiction.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Ai (1947- ) 1
Maya Angelou (1928- ) 9
Amiri Baraka (1934- ) 18
Arna Bontemps (1902-1973) 26
Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) 32
Sterling Brown (1901-1989) 41
Lucille Clifton (1936- ) 49
Wanda Coleman (1946- ) 60
Jayne Cortez (1936- ) 66
Countee Cullen (1903-1946) 73
Toi Derricotte (1941- ) 81
Rita Dove (1952- ) 89
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) 99
Cornelius Eady (1954- ) 107
Mari Evans (n.d.- ) 114
Nikki Giovanni (1943- ) 121
Jupiter Hammon (1711-1806) 131
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1824-1911) 134
Michael S. Harper (1938- ) 141
Robert Hayden (1913-1980) 149
George Moses Horton (1797?-1883?) 157
Langston Hughes (1902-1968) 162
Georgia Douglas Johnson (1886-1966) 171
James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) 177
June Jordan (1936- ) 185
Etheridge Knight (1931-1991) 193
Yusef Komunyakaa (1947- ) 201
Audre Lorde (1934-1992) 209
Nathaniel Mackey (1947- ) 217
Haki Madhubuti (1942- ) 225
Colleen J. McElroy (1936- ) 232
Claude McKay (1889-1948) 239
E. Ethelbert Miller (1950- ) 247
Thylias Moss (1954- ) 255
Marilyn Nelson (1946- ) 262
Dudley Randall (1914- ) 270
Ishmael Reed (1938- ) 277
Carolyn Rodgers (1945- ) 285
Sonia Sanchez (1934- ) 291
Melvin B. Tolson (1900-1966) 300
Jean Toomer (1894-1967) 307
Quincy Troupe (1943- ) 314
Margaret Abigail Walker (1915-1998) 322
Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) 329
Jay Wright (1935- ) 336
Al Young (1939- ) 344
Selected Anthologies 351
Index 353
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