The Black Bard of North Carolina: George Moses Horton and His Poetry

The Black Bard of North Carolina: George Moses Horton and His Poetry

by George Moses Horton
     
 

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For his humanistic religious verse, his poignant and deeply personal antislavery poems, and, above all, his lifelong enthusiasm for liberty, nature, and the art of poetry, George Moses Horton merits a place of distinction among nineteenth-century African American poets. Enslaved from birth until the close of the Civil War, the self-taught Horton was the first

Overview

For his humanistic religious verse, his poignant and deeply personal antislavery poems, and, above all, his lifelong enthusiasm for liberty, nature, and the art of poetry, George Moses Horton merits a place of distinction among nineteenth-century African American poets. Enslaved from birth until the close of the Civil War, the self-taught Horton was the first American slave to protest his bondage in published verse and the first black man to publish a book in the South. As a man and as a poet, his achievements were extraordinary.

In this volume, Joan Sherman collects sixty-two of Horton's poems. Her comprehensive introduction—combining biography, history, cultural commentary, and critical insight—presents a compelling and detailed picture of this remarkable man's life and art.

George Moses Horton (ca. 1797-1883) was born in Northampton County, North Carolina. A slave for sixty-eight years, Horton spent much of his life on a farm near Chapel Hill, and in time he fostered a deep connection with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The author of three books of poetry, Horton was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in May of 1996.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Sherman's edition will aid in securing Horton's place as a significant 19th-century American poet.

Library Journal

The Black Bard fills the breach in information about the life and work of this 19th-century African American poet.

Choice

This book is a valuable introduction to Horton's life and work that is accessible to both scholars and general readers.

North Carolina Historical Review

[A]n impressive creative legacy.

Trudier Harris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Black Bard of North Carolina [is] the best introduction to Horton's life and work available.

William L. Andrews, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Library Journal
Sherman (African-American Poetry of the Nineteenth Century, LJ 10/92) has culled 62 of the poems of George Moses Horton (ca. 1797-1883) from his three volumes: The Hope of Liberty (1829), the Poetical Works (1845), and Naked Genius (1865). She provides an in-depth introduction and biographical information that puts Horton in context, and she occasionally corrects errors of previous critics. Sherman also gives an insightful if brief analysis of his poetry. She particularly focuses on his connection with the University of North Carolina, where the self-educated Horton was campus poet for years. Because he was enslaved for 68 years, one of Horton's most powerful and poignant subjects is the desire for liberty, which was often cruelly snatched from him. Sherman's edition will aid in securing Horton's place as a significant 19th-century American poet. Recommended for larger poetry collections.Louis J. Parascandola, Long Island Univ., Brooklyn

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807846483
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
04/28/1997
Series:
Chapel Hill Books Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
168
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.47(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
General readers especially interested in North Carolina and southern literary and cultural history, as well as scholars indebted to Sherman's important work on nineteenth-century African American poets, will find The Black Bard of North Carolina the best introduction to Horton's life and work available.—William L. Andrews, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill For more information, see our Web Site: http://sunsite.unc.edu/uncpress/horton/

This book is a valuable introduction to Horton's life and work that is accessible to both scholars and general readers. Its publication focuses needed attention on the achievements of a remarkable North Carolinian.—North Carolina Historical Review

This wonderful courageous man who found his strength and his voice in poems well deserves our thanks.—Nikki Giovanni

Joan Sherman has performed invaluable recovery work in editing the poetry, including previously uncollected poems, of George Moses Horton. Her thoughtful and balanced critical commentary re-situates Horton among his primarily white contemporaries and invites further exploration of the works of this 'slave poet' who left an impressive creative legacy.—Trudier Harris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Black Bard fills the breach in information about the life and work of this 19th-century African American poet. . . . The gathering of Horton's poetry in one volume leads to insights into influences, themes, subjects, and poetic forms and diction, while uncovering the driving forces behind his poetry, 'the contrast between liberty and bondage.'——Choice

Sherman's edition will aid in securing Horton's place as a significant 19th-century American poet.—Library Journal

Meet the Author

Joan R. Sherman is professor emerita of English at Rutgers University. She is author and editor of several books on nineteenth-century African American poets.

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