The Poetry of the Negro, 1746-1970 (rev. ed.)



The Poetry of the Negro, 1746-1970 (rev. ed.)

This edition

"The Poetry of the Negro, 1746-1970: An Anthology". Ed. Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps. Rev. ed. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 1970. xxiv+645 pp.

Other editions, reprints, and translations

The Poetry of the Negro, 1746-49: An Anthology

Table of contents

Contents (1970 ed.):
Contents :I NEGRO POETS OF THE U.S.A. Bars Fight / Lucy Terry -- An Evening Thought / Jupiter Hammon -- His Excellency General Washington ; On Imagination / Phillis Wheatley -- On Liberty and Slavery / George Moses Horton -- Epigram / Armand Lanusse -- The Slave Auction ; Let the Light Enter / Frances E.W. Harper -- Verse Written in the Album of Mademoiselle / Pierre Dalcour -- The Feet of Judas / George Marion McClellan -- The Way-side Well / Joseph S. Cotter, Sr. -- Miss Melerlee / John Wesley Holloway -- A Litany at Atlanta / W.E.B. Du Bois -- Paul Laurence Dunbar ; An Indignation Dinner / James David Corrothers -- O Black and Unknown Bards ; My City ; Lift Every Voice and Sing / James Weldon Johnson -- Sympathy ; Dawn ; A Negro Love Song ; When Malindy Sings ; Little Brown Baby ; A Death Song ; Ere Sleep Comes Down to Soothe the Weary Eyes ; Compensation / Paul Laurence Dunbar -- Sonnet / Alice Dunbar Nelson -- The House of Falling Leaves ; The Watchers ; White Magic: An Ode / William Stanley Braithwaite -- The Teacher ; Tuskegee / Leslie Pinckney Hill -- A Winter Twilight ; For the Candle Light ; When the Green Lies over the Earth ; Tenebris / Angelina Weld Grimké -- My Hero / Benjamin Brawley -- Life Long, Poor Browning ... ; Letter to My Sister ; At the Carnival ; Lines to a Nasturtium ; For Jim, Easter Eve / Anne Spencer -- Enigma ; La Vie C'est la Vie ; Dead Fires ; Oblivion / Jessie Redmond Fauset -- Morning Light ; Arctic Tern in a Museum ; Little Birches / Effie Lee Newsome -- The Heart of a Woman ; Youth ; Remember ; The Suppliant ; Old Black Men ; Interracial ; I Closed My Shutters Fast Last Night ; Recessional ; My Little Dreams / Georgia Douglas Johnson -- San Francisco ; Villanelle of Washington Square ; View Carré / Walter Adolphe Roberts -- Rulers : The Banjo Player ; The Scarlet Woman ; Tired ; Aunt Jane Allen ; When I Die ; The Lonley Mother ; Who Is That A-walking in the Corn? / Fenton Johnson -- Status Quo ; At Early Morn / Binga Dismond -- The Tropics in New York ; After the Winter ; Spring in New Hampshire ; A Song of the Moon ; Harlem Shadows ; America ; White Houses ; If We Must Die ; Baptism ; Flame-heart / Claude McKay -- Banking Coal ; The Blue Meridian / Jean Toomer -- Supplication ; And What Shall You Say? / Joseph S. Cotter, Jr. -- Dark Symphony ; Lamda ; Do / Melvin B. Tolson -- On Seeing Two Brown Boys in a Catholic Church ; Kid Stuff ; Toast ; Letters Found Near a Suicide / Frank Horne -- The Craftsman ; McDonogh Day in New Orleans / Marcus B. Christian -- Nocturne Varial ; Dream Song ; Tranformation / Lewis Alexander -- The Elevator Man Adheres to Form ; Best Loved of Africa ; Dance of the Abakweta / Margaret Danner -- After Winter ; Old Lem ; Foreclosure ; Remembering Nat Turner ; Sister Lou / Sterling A. Brown -- The Mask ; Solace ; Joy ; Interim / Clarissa Scott Delany -- I, Too, Sing America ; Dream Variation ; The Weary Blues ; Mother to Son ; The Negro Speaks of Rivers ; Personal ; Havana Deams ; Harlem Sweeties ; Merry-Go-Round ; Let America Be America Again ; I Thought It Was Tangiers I Wanted ; Song for a Suicide ; Harlem ; Birmingham Sunday ; Motto ; Cultural Exchange / Langston Hughes -- Sonnets ; Lines Written At the Grave of Aleandre Dumas / Gwendolyn B. Bennett -- A Black Man Talks of Reaping ; Miracles ; Nocturne at Bethesda ; Southern Mansion ; Length of Moon ; The Return ; Idolatry ; Close Your Eyes! ; Golgotha Is a Mountain ; A Note of Humility ; The Daybreakers ; Nocturne of the wharves ; God Give to Men / Arna Bontemps -- Epitaph for a Bigot ; Green Valley / Dorothy Vena Johnson -- For a Poet ; The Wise ; For a Lady I Know ; Incident ; Yet Do I Marvel ; Youth Sings a Song of Rosebuds ; From the Dark Tower / Countee Cullen -- The Resurrection ; My Angel ; And One Shall Live in Two ; Muse in Late November ; She Said ... / Jonathan Henderson Brooks -- Poet ; Prescience ; Haven ; Appoggiatura ; Benedicion / Donald Jeffery Hayes -- Four Glimpses of Night ; I Sing No New Songs ; Robert Whitmore ; Flowers of Darkness / Frank Marshall Davis -- Northboun / Lucy Ariel Williams Holloway -- Forgotten Dreams ; On the Death of a Child / Edward Silvera -- Summer Matures ; Fulfillment ; Magalu ; Remember Not ; Invocation ; The Road / Helene Johnson -- Face of Poverty / Lucy Smith -- Urgency / Sarah E. Wright -- Adjuration ; Tumult / Charles Enoch Wheeler -- Plans ; A Young David; Birmingham ; Words / Helen Morgan Brooks -- Without Name / Pauli Murray -- Heart of the Woods / Wesley Curtright -- Freedom in Mah Soul ; Western Town / David Wadsworth Cannon, Jr. -- A Boy's Need ; Crossing a Creek ; Willow Bend and Weep ; On Calvary's Lonely Hill / Herbert Clark Johnson -- The Letter / Beatrice M. Murphy -- O Daedalus, Fly Away Home ; Homage to the Empress of the Blues ; A Ballad of Remembrance ; Runagate Runagate ; Frederick Douglass / Robert E. Hayden -- Creole Girl / Leslie Morgan Collins -- Six O'Clock ; Rag Doll and Summer Birds ; Counterpoint ; Epitaph for a Negro Woman ; The Decision ; Poem for My Brother Kenneth / Owen Dodson -- Memorial Wreath ; Legacy: My South / Dudley Randall -- Where Have You Gone? ... ; If There Be Sorrow / Mari Evans -- Molly Means ; We Have Been Believers ; For My People ; October Journey ; Harriet Tubman ; For Mary McLeod Bethune / Margaret Walker -- This Hour / Oliver LaGrone -- Be Daedalus / Nanina Alba -- Ultimate Equality ; Basic / Ray Durem -- The Fishes and the Poet's Hands / Frank Yerby -- Kitchenette Building ; The Birth in a Narrow Room ; "pygmies are pygmies still, though percht on Alps" First Fight. Then Fiddle ; The Wall / Gwendolyn Brooks -- Here and Now / Catharine Cater -- Prayer ; Another Day / Isabella Maria Brown -- To Satch ; What Bright Pushbutton? / Samuel Allen -- To an Avenue Sport / Helen Johnson Collins -- Blues for Bessie ; Two Leaqn Cats ... ; Young Poet ; Sunset Horn / Myron O'Higgins -- Journey to a Parallel ; The African Affair / Bruce McM. Wright -- Portrait Phillippines ; Sonnet / Alfred A. Duckett -- Time and Tide / Hazel Washington LaMarre -- Song ; Notes for a Movie Script ; Letter Across Doubt and Distance ; And on This Shore -- Picnic: The Liberated / M. Carl Holman -- Paternal ; Mae's Rent Party / Ernest J. Wilson, Jr. -- A Folding and Unfolding / Welton Smith -- Church Burning: Mississippi ; Black Muslim Boy in a Hospital ; Son James A. Emanuel -- To a Brown Girl / Ossie Davis -- Refugee ; Midway ; Mortality / Naomi Long Madgett -- A Private Letter to Brazil ; The Map / G.C. Oden -- Clubwoman ; Jungle / Mary Carter Smith -- In Spite of All This Much Needed Thunder / Zack Gilbert -- Christophe / Russell Atkins -- For William Edward Burghardt DuBois on his Eightieth Birthday / Bette Darcie Latimer -- Black Man's Feast / Sarah Webster Fabio -- Jazz / Frank London Brown -- Miles' Delight / Ted Joans -- I've Got a Home in that Rock / Raymond Patterson -- Three Kings / James P. Vaughn -- To Vanity / Darwin T. Turner -- Dream / Solomon Edwards -- Madhouse / Calvin C. Hernton -- Four Sheets to the Wind and a One-way Ticket to France / Conrad Kent Rivers -- Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note ; Epistrophe / LeRoi Jones -- Suburbia / Maurice Martinez -- Afterwards, They Shall Dance ; Cincophrenicpoet ; Benediction / Bob Kaufman -- Letter from a Wife / S. Carolyn Reese -- A Juju of My Own / Lebert Bethune -- The Feral Pioneers-for Dancer / Ishmael Reed -- Poems; Birmingham 1962-1964 ; Moths ; Birmingham ; Alabama / Julia Fields -- Cities and Seas ; Ending / Norman Jordan -- Floodtide ; Askia Muhammad Touré -- othello jones dresses for dinner ; 18,000 feet ; eclipse / Ed Roberson -- Just Making it (Blood for Sale) ; The Worker / Richard Thomas -- Look at That Gal / Julian Bond -- Gift / Carol Freeman -- Brainwashing Dramatized / Don Johnson -- Sketches of Harlem ; Downtown-Boy Uptown / David Henderson -- Memorandum / Rudy Bee Graham --

II. TRIBUTARY POEMS BY NON-NEGROES -- The Little Black Boy / William Blake -- To Toussaint L'Ouverture / William Wordsworth -- The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point / Elizabeth Barrett Browning -- The Slave's Dream / Henry Wadsworth Longfellow -- The Farewell / John Greenleaf Whittier -- Stanzas on Freedom / James Russell Lowell -- "Formerly a Slave" / Herman Melville -- The Runaway Slave ; The Wounded Person ; The Drayman ; Ethiopia Saluting the Colors / Walt Whitman -- Toussaint L'Ouverture / Edwin Arlington Robinson -- The Bird and the Tree / Ridgely Torrence -- Mammy Hums ; Jazz Fantasia / Carl Sandburg -- The Congo / Vachel Lindsay -- Defeat / Witter Bynner -- Echoes of Childhood ; Uncle Jim ; Delphy / Alice Corbin -- How Old Brown Took Harpers Ferry / Edmund Clarence Stedman -- Porgy, Maria, and Bess / DuBose Heyward -- The Stong Swimmer / William Rose Benét -- Elegy on a Nordic White Protestant / John Gould Fletcher -- Arthur Mitchell / Marianne Moore -- Upstairs Downstairs / Hervey Allen -- Negroes ; Lynched Negro ; Poem to Negro and Whites / Maxwell Bodenheim -- Small Colored Boy in the Subway / Babette Deutsch -- Little White Schoolhouse Blues / Florence Becker Lennon -- The World Looks On / Louis Newman -- Creed / Walter Lowenfels -- John Brown's Prayer / Stephen Vincent Benét -- Sonnets at Christmas (II) / Allen Tate -- Last Impression of New York ; In War ; Big Man ; Pico Della Mirandola ; Things of the Spirit ; Pen Hy Cane / Mason Jordon Mason -- A Communication to Nancy Cunard / Kay Boyle -- They Are Ours / A.B. Magil -- Boogie-Woogie Ballads / St. Clair McKelway -- Street Scene -- 1946 / Kenneth Porter -- Slave Story / Hodding Carter -- Norris Dam ; Daphne ; On a Picture by Pippin, Called "The Den" Harpers Ferry / Selden Rodman -- Singing in the Dark / Irma Wassall -- My South / Don West -- Negro Spiritual / Perient Trott -- Songs for a Colored Singer / Elizabeth Bishop -- Government Injunction / Josephine Miles -- Nice Day for a Lynching / Kenneth Patchen -- Lenox Avenue ; The Castle / Sidney Alexander -- The Trial / Muriel Rukeyser -- Recapitulations XI ; The Southerner / Karl Shapiro -- Say Good-bye to Big Daddy / Randall Jarrell -- To a Negro Boy Graduating ; Countee Cullen / Eugene T. Maleska -- Bim Bam / Dorothy Rosenberg -- Juncture / Rea Lubar Duncan -- Recessional for the Class of 1959 of a School for Delinquent Negro Girls / Joseph R. Cowen -- Buckdancer's Choice / James Dickey -- Ode: Salute to the French Negro Poets / Frank O'Hara -- Requiem for "Bird" Parker / Gregory Corso -- The Memory of Boxer Benny (Kid) Paret / Frank Lima


Reviews and notices of anthology

• Osborne, Gwendolyn E. "The Crisis" 81.9 (Nov. 1974): 317. [Google Books]
"Unlike many anthologies which surfaced as a result of the growth of Afro-American studies and consciousness, 'The Poetry of the Negro' is more than a collection of poetry. It is a chronicle of the 'Negro' period in the Afro-American experience as versed by both Negro and white poets. Divided into two separate but unequal parts, it is a reflection of the conditions which effected the origin and development of Negro literature and their affect [sic] upon the scope of world literature.
"Although Negro poetry had its beginnings essentially in the chants and rhythms of the Negro spiritual, this volume deals specifically with written verse" (317).
Osborne mentions early Negro poets and poems--"Bars Fight" (by Lucy Terry), the work of Phillis Wheatley and Jupiter Hammon--before commenting that George Moses Horton's "Penitential Cries" "was the best known volume of poetry by a Negro during the sixteenth [sic] century while Horton sold his poetry at the University of North Carolina and eventually purchased his freedom from its sales" (317).
"The theme and purpose of Negro poetry varied throughout the 300 years of its development due to the political, social and economic changes in the nature of the Negro experience. Poets of the pre-Civil War and Reconstruction era, such as Frances E. W. Harper [1825-1911, she began publishing in the 1840s], dealt with the abolition of slavery. The works of Paul Laurence Dunbar vividly created Negro life and felling while the works of the Harlem Renaissance which immediately followed contained hope and spirit for a rebirth of the total Negro culture. Two writers to emerge from this period were the editors whose works are disproportionately prominent in its section" (317).
"The term 'Negro' is significant to this volume not only because it was a part of the accepted nomenclature of this era's people of African decent [sic], but because it refers to the social and philosophical direction of its contents. It referes to a period when, for the most part, total integration into the American system was the goal. The poetry of this time is a case in point. It seems to seek acceptance on its merits as poetry by conforming to the basic techniques of style, meter and form which have been established by the dominant culture for 'good' poetry. Themes are usually general, as in the case of the early poems by slaves, religious or full of the dreams of equality and assimilation into the system.
"It is interesting to note that 'Black' poets, such as Nikki Giovanni and Don L. Lee do not appear here even though this volume was revised during the height of their popularity in 1970. They have been deliberately excluded since they belong to another 'school' in Afro-American literature. In addition the poetry published in the early sixties by a relatively more conservative poet, LeRoi Jones, have been included while his later works as Imamu Amiri Baraka have not.
"The poetry of the Negro period is as different from contemporary black poetry as the Colonial period in American literature is from its Romantic period. While Negro literature sought assimilation into the system by conforming to its standards, black literature is a total rejection of white literary values and addresses itself primarily to black audiences" (317).
"The second section of this volume entitled 'Tributary Peoms by Non-Negroes' is its weakness. In the first edition, which was published in 1949, it was probably included to give strength of 'established' poets like Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Frost and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to a volume of verse by relatively obscure Negro poets. Today, however, it weights [sic] the book down as a hodge-podge of verses by any white author who happened to include a Negro subject in his works. Many of these poems are inferior works of otherwise good poes and ironically perpetuate many of the myths and stereotypes that Negroes, contemporary to this period, sought desperately to eliminate" (317).

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