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I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry written by Catherine Clinton

 

I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry written by Catherine Clinton

Synopsis:

From the first known African American poet, Lucy Terry, to recent poet laureate Rita Dove, I, Too, Sing America captures the enormous talent and passion of black writers. This powerful and diverse, this unique collection spans three centuries of poetry in America as poets bare their souls, speak their minds, trace their roots, and proclaim their dreams in the thirty-six poems compiled here. The voices of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, W. E. B. Dubois, and Gwendolyn Brooks, among others, create an energetic blend of tone and tempo, ardor and awe. From lamentations to celebrations, these poems reveal the ironies of black America, juxtaposing themes of resistance and reconciliation, hope and despair.

Each poem is further illuminated with notes, a brief biography of the poet, and stunning visual interpretations. Clinton and Alcorn have created a stirring tribute to these great poets, as well as a remarkable volume that will move any reader.

A splendid, rattling good collection of African-American poetry. Represented are 25 poets (and 35
poems), some of whom are household namesW.E.B. Du Bois, Maya Angelou, Rita Dove,
Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, and Langston Hughes. There are examples of the influential Harlem Renaissance poets -- Angelina Weld Grimk, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Jean Toomer, for
example -- and the first known poem composed by an African-American, Lucy Terry's ``Bars Fight.'' The brimming anger of James M. Whitfield comes through, along with the injustice of lines that had to be transcribed by others because African-Americans were denied by law the right to put poetry to paper. Clinton includes short biographical sketches and critical snippets on every poet, and these only further the impact of the tragic, warm, sad, and ferocious voices of great presence that survived beyond all odds. Alcorn's elegant illustrations have an expressiveness that honors the words.

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Title: I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry

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