My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry



My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry

This edition

"My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry" . Ed. Arnold Adoff. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1974. xii+83 pp.

Other editions, reprints, and translations

• Rev. ed. New York: Dutton Children's Books, 1994. xii+83 pp.; repr. New York: Puffin Books, 1995. xii+83 pp.

Online access

Available for borrowing from Internet Archive (1974 ed.).

Table of contents

● Lucille Clifton / Listen Children
● Kali Grosvenor / Our Black People
● Kali Grosvenor / It's a New Kind of Day
● Rob Penny / The Real People Loves One Another
● Langston Hughes / My People
● Langston Hughes / Sun Song
● Don L. Lee / [from “African Poems”]
● Don L. Lee / Awareness
● Ted Joans / Black People

● Sonia Sanchez / To P.J.(2 yrs old who sed write a poem for me in Portland, Oregon)
● Ray Patterson / Excerpt [from “Riot Rimes U.S.A.” (#78)]
● Ray Patterson / Excerpt [from “Riot Rimes U.S.A.” (#79)]
● Langston Hughes / Good Morning
● Langston Hughes / Dream Deferred
● Bob O'Meally / I Was Jus
● Bob O'Meally / It Aint No
● Nikki Giovanni / Ten Years Old
● Nikki Giovanni / Poem for Flora
● Nikki Giovanni / Winter Poem

● Norman Jordan / August 8
● Don L. Lee / Excerpt [from “Blackwoman Poems”]
● Sam Cornish / Sam's World
● Sam Cornish / Your Mother
● Lucille Clifton / For deLawd
● Carolyn Rodgers / Portrait
● Lucille Clifton / Good Times
● Sam Cornish / My Brother Is Homemade
● Vanessa Howard / Monument in Black

● Ray Patterson / Glory, Glory ...
● Nikki Giovanni / Knoxville, Tennessee
● Doughtry Long / #4
● William J. Harris / A Grandfather Poem
● James Emanuel / Old Black Men Say
● Ray Patterson / I've Got a Home in That Rock ...

● Sam Cornish / Cross Over the River
● Sam Cornish / Montgomery
● Ali Lloyd Corbin, Jr (Djangatolum)
● Lucille Clifton / To Bobby Seale
● Julius Thompson / To Malcolm X
● Mae Jackson / I Remember ...
● Julia Fields / Aardvark
● Sam Cornish / Death of Dr. King (#1)

● Langston Hughes / Dream Variation
● Langston Hughes / Final Curve
● Larry Thompson / Black Is Best
● Jackie Earley / One Thousand Nine-Hundred & Sixty-Eight Winters
● Kali Grosvenor / Were Is My Head Going
● Barbara Mahone / What Color Is Black?
● Carol Freeman / Do Not Think
● Imamu Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones) / SOS

● The Poets
● Index to Authors
● Index to First Lines

About the anthology

• Although intended for young readers, the anthology offers a selection of general poetry by African American authors, not "children's literature" as such.
• Prefatory note by Adoff: [full text of note, unpaginated, from 1995 ed.]
"My Black Me
"This book of Black is for you. Black poems for Black sisters and brothers. Black poems for "all" sisters and brothers. Of every race. Every open face. Poems that help you know your inside faces. Your human pieces put together strong and fine. Human poems.
"It is a book of Black poetry. Poems by Black American poets of our time. Poems that are old and young and in between. Poems that tell about being Black. Poems that tell about being . . . [ellipsis in original]
"Let all these poems help you feel strong inside. Let all these poems push you out of your chair to stand tall. Then sit back down again and think about what you are right now. About what you can become tomorrow.
"This book of Black is for you. . . . Words and music will make you strong. Stay strong for yourself. Strong for the people.
"Read on."

Reviews and notices of anthology

• "Kirkus Reviews" 1 April 1974. Web .
"Accessible to readers too young for Adoff's previous anthologies of black poetry, this is richer, stronger and more various than the collection assembled by Hopkins, below (though a few sections overlap, Adoff's choices from Lucille Clifton, Nikki Giovanni, and unknown school children are generally fresher). The 50 uniformly brief selections range from Langston Hughes' 'Good Morning' ('I was born here, he said') to Victor Hernandez Cruz' 'I wasn't born here man/ But here I am' (paired with Cruz's keen 'I saw Butch/ He went on a high cloud/ Told me he was Afro/ Told me he was proud') and Bob O'Meally's wry 'It Ain't No book stores in the berry where I live.' There are notes of irony, lament and bemusement here along with the pride and celebration that dominate other such anthologies for children, though certainly the overall tone is affirmative. The closing words are Imamu Amiri Baraka's invitation: 'calling all black people, come in, black people,/ come on in.' Plenty for everyone."
• Sutherland, Zena. "The Best in Children's Books: The University of Chicago Guide to Children's Literature, 1973-1978". Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1980. (Book reviews were previously published in the "Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books", 1972-1978.)
"'Power to the poets,' writes Adoff in his foreword, and in this // anthology of poems by black writers the proud, joyful note of his message is exemplified by the closing lines of the first selection, Lucille Clifton's 'Listen Children' 'We have always loved each other / children / all ways / pass it on.' There are poems that speak in protest, but as a collection the poems are a positive affirmation of blackness, and they have been wisely chosen for younger readers. Notes on the poets and an index are appended" (4-5; item 11).

Cited in

• [not in Kinnamon 1997]

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