The Book of American Negro Poetry (rev. ed.)



The Book of American Negro Poetry (rev. ed.)

This edition

"The Book of American Negro Poetry" . Ed. with an essay on the Negro's Creative Genius by James Weldon Johnson. Rev. ed. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1931. vii+300 pp.

Other editions, reprints, and translations

"The Book of American Negro Poetry" . Ed. with an essay on the Negro's Creative Genius by James Weldon Johnson. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1922. xlviii+217 pp.
Reprintings of 1931 edition:
• New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1958. xii+300 pp.; repr. 1969; repr. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983. xii+300 pp.; repr. 1993.
• New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996.

Table of contents

Contents (1931 ed.): includes selections from 39 authors: Paul Laurence Dunbar -- James Edwin Campbell -- James David Corrothers -- Daniel Webster Davis -- William H.A. Moore -- George Marion McClellan -- William Stanley Braithwaite -- George Reginald Margetson -- James Weldon Johnson -- John Wesley Holloway -- Fenton Johnson -- Edward Smyth Jones -- Benjamin Brawley -- Leslie Pinckney Hill -- Alex Rogers -- Waverly Turner Carmichael -- Alice Dunbar Nelson -- Claude McKay -- Georgia Douglas Johnson -- Joseph Seamon Cotter, Jr. -- Ray Garfield Dandridge -- Roscoe Conkling Jamison -- R. Nathaniel Dett -- Charles Bertram Johnson -- Joshua Henry Jones, Jr. -- Otto Leland Bohanan -- Jessie Redmond Fauset -- Theodore Henry Shakelford -- Lucian B. Watkins -- Anne Spencer -- *Countee Cullen -- Langston Hughes -- Gwendolyn Bennett -- Sterling A. Brown -- Arna Bontemps -- Frank Horne -- Helene Johnson -- Waring Cuney -- Lucy Ariel Williams*.

About the anthology

• "This edition contains poems by a new group of writers, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Sterling A. Brown and others, with a new preface in addition to the old one, and a bibliography of collateral reading" (Book Review Digest).

Reviews and notices of anthology

• "Saturday Review of Literature" 7 (4 April 1931): 714. (550 words)
"Mr. Johnson has made his selections with the taste of a true poet and a thorough knowledge of the extant poetry of his race."
• "New York Herald Tribune" 10 May 1931: 13. (380 words)
"It is one of the most satisfactory, and richest, anthologies that I have encountered in a long time... Representing the poetic expression of a single racial group in a single country, it presents a body of literature of which that group may be sincerely and rightly proud."
• "New York Times" 17 May 1931: 18. (230 words)
• "Springfield Republican" 17 May 1931: 7e. (300 words)
"As editor Mr Johnson exhibits judiciousness and critical competence."
• "The Nation" 132 (27 May 1931): 589. (150 words)
• "Christian Century" 48 (27 May 1931): 716. (220 words)
"No other single volume so deeply discloses the soul of the Negro race."
• Kenyon, Bernice. "Outlook" 158 (22 July 1931): 376. (250 words)
"A good hand-book for the average reader. Unfortunately it is not a collection of the best Negro poetry. With every one so fully represented, there is all too little space given to the more important poets, and these latter are often badly represented, with work which is not their best."

Commentary on anthology

• Re 1931 edition: "First published in 1922, this was immediately considered an important collection. The revised edition introduced readers to a new group of poets, including Countee Cullen, Sterling Brown, and, of course, Langston Hughes. The preface was changed, but Johnson's view of black poetry was essentially unaltered in 1931. He had faith in the intellectual capacity of his poets, in the messages they had to deliver. He included all // points of view, even those one suspects he may not have entirely agreed with. The result is one of the more satisfactory collections, even though by now it is much dated. Limiting himself to poets in the United States, Johnson included a few who were less than expert at their craft. But even here the message was often so powerful that it overcame the roughness of style. Johnson was a true poet, selecting other vibrant poets to add to the clamor for black artistic recognition and understanding. He achieved his goal" ("The Columbia Granger's Guide to Poetry Anthologies". Ed. William Katz, Linda Sternberg Katz, and Esther Crain. 2nd enlarged ed. New York: Columbia UP, 1994. 6-7).

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