I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Modern Poems by Negro Americans



I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Modern Poems by Negro Americans

This edition

"I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Modern Poems by Negro Americans" . Ed. Arnold Adoff. Illus. Benny Andrews. Foreword Charlemae Rollins. New York: Macmillan, 1968. 128 pp.

Other editions, reprints, and translations

I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Modern Poems by Negro Americans (rev. ed. 1997)

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Table of contents

● Foreword / Charlemae Rollins
● Preface / Arnold Adoff

Like I Am
● Langston Hughes / Me and the Mule
● Mari Evans / The Rebel
● Gwendolyn Brooks / We Real Cool
● Langston Hughes / Cross
● Fenton Johnson / Aunt Jane Allen
● Robert Hayden / The Whipping
● Robert Hayden / Those Winter Sundays
● Gwendolyn Brooks / A Song in the Front Yard
● Frank Marshall Davis / Flowers of Darkness
● Langston Hughes / Juke Box Love Song
● James Weldon Johnson / The Glory of the Day Was in Her Face
● Gwendolyn Brooks / Bronzeville Man with a Belt in the Back
● Calvin C. Hernton / Madhouse

● Leroi Jones / Each Morning
● Samuel Allen (Paul Vesey) / A Moment Please
● Langston Hughes / The Negro Speaks of Rivers
● Arna Bontemps / Southern Mansion
● Robert Hayden / O Daedalus, Fly Away Home
● Margaret Walker / October Journey
● Robert A. Davis / Dust Bowl
● Robert Hayden / A Ballad of Remembrance
● Robert Hayden / Middle Passage

Shall Be Remembered
● Robert Hayden / Frederick Douglass
● Robert Hayden / Runagate Runagate
● Dudley Randall / Memorial Wreath
● Myron O’Higgins / Vaticide
● Leroi Jones / A Poem for Black Hearts
● Conrad Kent Rivers / To Richard Wright
● Samuel Allen (Paul Vesey) / American Gothic
● Quandra Prettyman / When Mahalia Sings
● Owen Dodson / Yardbird’s Skull

If We Must Die
● Claude McKay / If We Must Die
● Claude McKay / The Lynching
● Leslie Pinckney Hill / “So Quickly”
● Arna Bontemps / The Daybreakers
● Langston Hughes / Song for a Dark Girl
● Sterling A. Brown / Old Lem
● Richard Wright / Between the World and Me

I Am the Darker Brother
● Langston Hughes / I, Too, Sing America
● Arna Bontemps / A Black Man Talks of Reaping
● Countee Cullen / From the Dark Tower
● Conrad Kent Rivers / On Passing Two Negroes on a Dark Country Road Somewhere in Georgia
● Jean Toomer / Beehive
● Fenton Johnson / Tired
● Paul Laurence Dunbar / Sympathy
● Owen Dodson / Sorrow Is the Only Faithful One
● Samuel Allen (Paul Vesey) / If the Stars Should Fall
● Countee Cullen / For a Lady I Know
● Countee Cullen / Incident
● Paul Laurence Dunbar / We Wear the Mask
● Richard Wright / Hokku: In the Falling Snow
● Countee Cullen / Yet Do I Marvel
● Conrad Kent Rivers / The Train Runs Late to Harlem
● Ray Durem / Award
● Mari Evans / Status Symbol
● Joseph White / Black Is a Soul

The Hope of Your Unborn
● Conrad Kent Rivers / The Still Voice of Harlem
● Langston Hughes / Dream Variation
● Owen Dodson / Poems for My Brother Kenneth, VII
● Raymond Richard Patterson / In Time of Crisis
● George Love / The Noonday April Sun
● Claude McKay / After the Winter
● Conrad Kent Rivers / Four Sheets to the Wind and a One-Way Ticket to France
● Margaret Walker / For My People

● Notes
● Biographies
● Index to Authors
● Index to First Lines

Reviews and notices of anthology

• Dale, Joanne. "Negro American Literature Forum" 3.1 (1969): 31. "JSTOR".
Dale notes that Adoff is "a native New Yorker, poet and teacher who has spent many years in public schools of Harlem and the upper west side of Manhattan" and that Benny Andrews, the illustrator of this volume, is "a New York painter whose work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of African Art, and the Brooklyn Museum, and whose paintings are represented in such permanent collections as the Chrysler Museum and the Norfolk Museum" (31). For this volume, he has produced "simple black and white drawings" (31). "As Charlemae Rollins points out in the Foreword[,] '. . . some recent poems shock us with their outspoken language,' but it must be remembered that the personal and racial experiences which prompted these outcries are also shocking and must be faced if America is to resolve the racial dilemma" (31). The anthology addresses a dual audience as Adoff indicates in his preface: "There is a need for Negroes to know of and experience through the eyes of other Negroes how it has been and how it is to be a Negro in America, and for whites to become familiar with this part of their American heritage through the vision of life as Negroes in this country see it" (quoted 31).
"Included are works by Arna Bontemps, Gwendolyn Brooks, Countee Cullen, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Robert Hayden, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, LeRoi Jones, Claude McKay, Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, and nineteen ["sic", actually eighteen] others whose names may be less well-known to readers accustomed to traditional anthologies but whose works match in power and beauty those by poets whose names are more familiar" (31).
The less well known authors (by Dale's reckoning) are mostly more recent figures (although Sterling A. Brown and Jean Toomer are also left in this category): Samuel Allen (Paul Vesey), Sterling A. Brown, Frank Marshall Davis, Robert A. Davis, Owen Dodson, Ray Durem, Mari Evans, Calvin C. Hernton, Leslie Pinckney Hill, Fenton Johnson, George Love, Myron O'Higgins, Raymond Richard Patterson, Quandra Prettyman, Conrad Kent Rivers, Dudley Randall, Jean Toomer, and Joseph White.
[The 1998 edition includes new poems by: Ai, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, Sam Cornish, Toi Derricotte, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, Michael S. Harper, Lance Jeffers, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Haki Madhubuti, E. Ethelbert Miller, Ishmael Reed, Sonia Sanchez, Primus St. John, Quincy Troupe, Alice Walker, and Al Young.]

Commentary on anthology

• (re 1968 edition): "The subtitle is slightly misleading by this time, since the poems are no longer particularly modern, but they are, as the editor states, 'easily available to both Negroes and whites.' Beginning with Langston Hughes's familiar 'Me and the Mule,' the sixty short poems are arranged under six broad, rather ambiguous, subject headings. The indexes to first lines and to authors are more helpful. There are short // biographical sketches for each of the thirty writers included. Hughes is most copiously represented with seven poems, followed closely by Robert Hayden and Conrad Kent Rivers. Other excellent poets whose work will be found here include Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Walker, and Raymond Patterson. Many of the others were born at the close of the nineteenth or beginning of the twentieth century. The selection is of a high order and fulfills the purpose of introducing younger people (grades seven and up) to black poets. Effective line drawings add to the pleasure of the volume" ("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. 9-10).

Cited in

• Kallenbach 1979
• Kinnamon 1997: 471
• Indexed in "The Columbia Granger's Index to African-American Poetry" (1999)

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