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African American Poets - Still Living

Black Poets
by

Willma Harvey

on 6 October 2010

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Transcript of African American Poets - Still Living

African American Poets Maya Angelou
St. Louis, Missouri
Among her volumes of poetry are A Brave and Startling Truth (Random House, 1995), The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994), Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now (1993), Now Sheba Sings the Song (1987), I Shall Not Be Moved (1990), Shaker, Why Don't You Sing? (1983), Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well (1975), and Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie (1971), which was nominated for the Pulitzer prize. Rita Dove
Akron, Ohio
When Dove was 34 she received the Pulitzer for Thomas and Beulah, a book about her grandparents, “a collection of poems that dealt with their lives: first his side and then her side of the story”. She remembers it as “the first moment that really stood out in terms of public excitement and recognition.” Doves second big surprise was when she became the youngest person at the age of 40, and first African American to be honored as U.S. Poet Laureate in 1993 and held the title until 1995. In these few years she was also appointed Poet Laureate in 1994, an award she thought was only given to much older poets. James A. Emanuel
Alliance, Nebraska
Collected Poems, 1958–1989 (1990), The Broken Bowl: New and Uncollected Poems (1983), Black Man Abroad: The Toulouse Poems (1978), and At Bay (1969). He is also the author of Langston Hughes (1967) Nikki Giovanni
Knoxville, Tennessee
One of her most well-known poems, titled “Nikki-Rosa”, was inspired by her childhood. This poem examines the relationship between love and wealth, reflecting on how much love Giovanni was surrounded by as a child, despite her poverty. Another significant poem in Giovanni’s career is “Black Feeling, Black Talk”. In this poem Giovanni takes on a revolutionary perspective, promoting violence and illustrating the identity of her race. Amiri Baraka
Newark, New Jersey
Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems is Baraka’s first collection of poems published in the Caribbean and includes the title poem that has headlined him in the media in ways rare to poets and authors. The recital of the poem “that mattered” engaged the poet warrior in a battle royal with the very governor of New Jersey and with a legion of detractors demanding his resignation as the state’s Poet Laureate because of Somebody Blew Up America’s provocatively poetic inquiry (in a few lines of the poem) about who knew beforehand about the New York City World Trade Center bombings in 2001. Lucille Clifton
Depew, New York
Clifton’s publication of her first poetry collection was Good Times (1969). Good Times was claimed to be one of the best books of the year by the New York Times. After this major breakthrough Clifton went on to use the teaching skills she had learned at Fredonia and held positions at Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1974 to 1979, professor of literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz, from 1985 to 1989, Distinguished Professor of Literature and Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary's College, Maryland, from 1989 to 1991, and professor of creative writing at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, beginning in 1998, Not to mention she served as the Poet Laureate of the state of Maryland from 1979 to 1985. Clifton is one of the most accomplished women in the literary world. Owner of Pulitzer Prize nominations for poetry in 1980, 1987, and 1991, the Lannan Literary Award for poetry in 1997, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize in 1997, the Los Angeles Times Poetry Award in 1997, the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Award in 1999, and the National Book Award for Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000. Cornelius Eady
Rochester, New York
Author of five books of poetry, most recently The Autobiography of a Jukebox, published in 1996 by Carnegie Mellon University Press. His previous collections include You Don't Miss Your Water (Henry Holt & Co., 1995); The Gathering of My Name (Carnegie Mellon, 1991), which was nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; Victims of the Latest Dance Craze (Ommation Press, 1986), which won the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets; and Kartunes (Warthog Press, 1980). His many honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, and the Prairie Schooner Strousse Award. Cornelius Eady is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Poetry Center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Forest Hamer
Oakland, California
His work has appeared in many journals including the Beloit Poetry Journal, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, ZYZZYVA, Berkeley Poetry Review, Cream City Review, Drumming Between Us, Equinox, Kenyon Review, Negative Capability. Hamer's work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry, Poet’s Choice: Poems for Everyday Life, The Geography of Home: California’s Poetry of Place, and Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry. Yusef Komunyakaa
Bogalusa, Louisiana
Yusef Komunyakaa is professor in the Council of Humanities and Creative Writing at Princeton University. Wesleyan has published six of his ten books, including the Pulitzer prize-winning Neo Vernacular (1993), which also won the Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award from the Claremont Graduate School, magic City (1992), and Dien Cai Dau (1988). In 1991, he won the Thomas Forcade award, in 1993 was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry, in 1994 received the William Faulkner Prize from the University of Rennes in France, and in 1997 he was awarded the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine and the Hanes Poetry Prize. His new book from Wesleyan is Thieves of Paradise. Wanda Phipps
Washington DC
Author of Wake-Up Calls:66 Morning Poems (Soft Skull Press), the chapbooks Lunch Poems (Boog Literature), Your Last Illusion or Break Up Sonnets (Situations), After the Mishap (Faux Press e-chapbooks) and the CD-Rom Zither Mood (Faux Press). I’m also the co-author of Shanar: Dedication Ritual of a Buryat Shaman in Siberia (Parabola). My poems have been published over 100 times in journals such as Agni, Exquisite Corpse, The World, Hanging Loose, Sensitive Skin, Long Shot, and the webzines How2: Contemporary Innovative Writing by Women, POETIC VOICES, milkmag, Jack, $lavery: Cyberzine of the Arts, The East Village, Shampoo and Brooklyn Review Online. Quincy Troupe
St. Louis, Missouri
His books of poetry include Transcircularities: New and Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2002); Choruses: Poems (1999); Avalanche: Poems (1996); Weather Reports: New and Selected Poems (1991); Skulls along the River (1984); Snake-Back Solos: Selected Poems 1969-1977 (1979), which received an American Book Award; and Embryo Poems, 1967-1971 (1974). Natasha Trethewey
Gulfport, Mississippi
Throughout Trethewey's career, she has received many awards, including grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts to continue her work on Bellocq's Ophelia, (poems based on her work as a graduate student about photographs of prostitutes in the 1900's in New Orleans). For "Storyville Diary" she won the Grolier Poetry Prize. In 1999, she was selected by Rita Dove to receive the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet for Domestic Work, which was published in the fall of 2000 by Graywolf Press. In 2001, she received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the Lillian Smith Award for poetry. Trethewey's work has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines. She has published two collections of poetry: Domestic Work and Bellocq's Ophelia. She won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her 2006 collection Native Guard, a collection of letter poems by black guardsmen who were once stationed at Gulfport, Mississippi. In addition to Trethewey's father Eric being a poet, her stepmother also has published collections of poetry (Emory Report). Trethewey taught as an assistant professor of English at Auburn University in Alabama before accepting her current position as an assistant professor of English, poetry, and creative writing at Emory University in Decatur, Georgia. Domestic Work
Winner of the Cave Canem Prize for emerging African American poets, selected by Rita Dove, this powerful first collection explores the everyday work of the African American woman: to earn a living, manage a household, and the more intimate work of trying to live with or without someone. Trethewey draws upon her own experience, but also from women who lived generations before her. Bellocq’s Ophelia: Poems
Natasha Trethewey's second collection is concerned with the resemblances between poetry and photography as she explores E. J. Bellocq's turn-of-the-century photographs of prostitutes in the Storyville district of New Orleans. Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Natasha Trethewey's elegiac Native Guard is a deeply personal volume that brings together two legacies of the Deep South. The title of the collection refers to the Mississippi Native Guards, a black regiment whose role in the Civil War has been largely overlooked by history. As a child in Gulfport, Mississippi, in the 1960s, Trethewey could gaze across the water to the fort on Ship Island where Confederate captives once were guarded by black soldiers serving the Union cause. The racial legacy of the South touched Trethewey's life on a much more immediate level, too. Many of the poems in Native Guard pay loving tribute to her mother, whose marriage to a white man was illegal in her native Mississippi in the 1960s. Years after her mother's tragic death, Trethewey reclaims her memory, just as she reclaims the voices of the black soldiers whose service has been all but forgotten.
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