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Poetry Unit

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Aykaim Williams

on 19 December 2012

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Transcript of Poetry Unit

Poetry Unit By: Aykaim Williams Arna Bontemps &Phillis Wheatly Poets Ralph Angel Phillis Wheatly Arna Bontemps A Hymn to Humanity God Gives To Men A Rebus Southern Mansion In Every Direction Even Because This poems by Ralph Angel Ralph Angel was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1951. He is the author of Twice Removed (Sarabande Books, 2001), Neither World, which received the 1995 James Laughlin Award, and Anxious Latitudes (1986). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Antioch Review, The American Poetry Review, and many other magazines. He is the Edith R. White Distinguished Professor at the University of Redlands, in California, and a member of the MFA in Writing faculty at Vermont College Phillis Wheatley was the first published African American poet and first African-American woman whose writings helped create the genre of African American literature. Born in Gambia, she was made a slave at age seven. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and helped encourage her poetry.

The 1773 publication of Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral brought her fame, with figures such as George Washington praising her work. Wheatley also toured England and was praised in a poem by fellow African American poet Jupiter Hammon. Wheatley was emancipated by her owners after her poetic success, but stayed with the Wheatley family until the death of her former master and the breakup of his family.

Wheatley’s popularity as a poet both in the United States and England ultimately gained her freedom on October 18, 1773. She appeared before General George Washington at a poetry reading in March, 1776. She was a strong supporter of American independence, reflected in both poems and plays she wrote during the Revolutionary War.

She married a free black grocer named John Peters; they had two children who died as infants. Wheatley's husband abandoned her in 1784, when she was pregnant again. She struggled to support herself and had completed a second volume of poetry, but no publisher seemed interested in it. , Arna (1902–1973), novelist, poet, and librarian. Born in Alexandria, Louisiana, the first child of a Roman Catholic bricklayer and a Methodist schoolteacher, Arna Wendell Bontemps grew up in California and graduated from Pacific Union College. After college he accepted a teaching position in Harlem at the height of the Harlem Renaissance, and in 1926 and 1927 won first prizes on three separate occasions in contests with other “New Negro” poets. The same years marked his marriage to Alberta Johnson and the start of a family of six children.
Bontemps's first effort at a novel (Chariot in the Cloud, 1929), a bildungsroman set in southern California, never found a publisher, but by mid-1931, as his teaching position in New York City ended, Harcourt accepted God Sends Sunday (1931), his novel about the rise and notoriety of Little Augie. This tiny black jockey of the 1890s, whose period of great luck went sour, was inspired by Bontemps's favorite uncle, Buddy.
While teaching at Oakwood Junior College, Bontemps began the first of several collaborations with Langston Hughes, Popo and Fifina: Children of Haiti (1932), a colorful travel book for juveniles that portrays two black children who migrate with their parents from an inland farm to a busy fishing village. The success of this new genre encouraged him to make juvenile fiction an ongoing part of his repertoire. Paul Laurence Dunbar


Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American poet to garner national critical acclaim. Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1872, Dunbar penned a large body of dialect poems, standard English poems, essays, novels and short stories before he died at the age of 33. His work often addressed the difficulties encountered by members of his race and the efforts of African-Americans to achieve equality in America. He was praised both by the prominent literary critics of his time and his literary contemporaries.

Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872, to Matilda and Joshua Dunbar, both natives of Kentucky. His mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery and served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. Matilda and Joshua had two children before separating in 1874. Matilda also had two children from a previous marriage.

The family was poor, and after Joshua left, Matilda supported her children by working in Dayton as a washerwoman. One of the families she worked for was the family of Orville and Wilbur Wright, with whom her son attended Dayton's Central High School. As if you actually died in that dream
and woke up dead. Shadows of untangling vines
tumble toward the ceiling. A delicate
lizard sits on your shoulder, its eyes
blinking in every direction.

And when you lean forward and present your
hands to the basin of water, and glimpse the glass face
that is reflected there, it seems perfectly at home
beneath the surface, about as unnatural
as nature forcing everyone to face the music
with so much left to do, with everything
that could be done better tomorrow, to dance
the slow shuffle of decay.

Only one season becoming another,
continents traveling the skyway, the grass
breathing. And townspeople, victims, murderers,
the gold-colored straw and barbed-wire hair of the world
wafting over the furrows, the slashed roads
to the door of your office or into the living room.

The towel is warm and cool, soft to the touch,
but in another dream altogether
a screen door creaks open, slams shut,
and across the valley a car's headlights swing up
and over. And maybe you are the driver
with both hands on the wheel, humming a tune
nobody's ever heard before,

or maybe the woman on the edge of the porch,
grown quiet from fleeing,
tough as nails Because it all just breaks apart, and the pieces scatter and
rearrange without much fanfare or notice.

Because you can't and don't remember the step that kicked up
dust and left this planet—you'd give up even more now.

Because the body itself—the heart's

not dead but deeper, wrapped up in curtains, a different color,
among the railings and the pigeons, the rooftops and
walls—

for all you know it's a question of bread

or beer.


Because even love

returns. The city's all brightness

and shadow, deckle-edged, bluer than air—there's no help
anywhere—you no longer know how to listen.

And love says, love—midnight to midnight,

already ablaze. And the boulevard—wide-open. And the well-
stocked crowdless market, and a lone taxi blears.

Even happiness—the way anger's come back to roost again.
And joy, though joy's not in the ear or the eye. On this
walk.

The gulls hover offshore and the islands are speckled with fire.

Even love, even because. Today, my love,
leaves are thrashing the wind
just as pedestrians are erecting again the buildings of this drab
forbidding city,
and our lives, as I lose track of them,
are the lives of others derailing in time and
getting things done.
Impossible to make sense of any one face
or mouth, though
each distance
is clear, and you are miles
from here.
Let your pure
space crowd my heart,
that we might stay awhile longer amid the flying
debris.
This moment,
I swear it,
isn't going anywhere Poplars are standing there still as death

and ghosts of dead men

meet their ladies walking

two by two beneath the shade

and standing on the marble steps.

There is a sound of music echoing

through the open door

and in the field there is

another sound tinkling in the cotton:

chains of bondsmen dragging on the ground

The years go back with an iron clank,

a hand is on the gate,

a dry leaf trembles on the wall.

Ghosts are walking.

They have broken roses down

and poplars stand there still as death God give the yellow man
an easy breeze at blossom time.
Grant his eager, slanting eyes to cover
every land and dream
of after while.

Give blue-eyed men their swivel chairs
to whirl in tall buildings.
Allow them many ships at sea,
and on land, soldiers
and policemen.

For black man, God,
no need to bother more
but only fill afresh his meed
of laughter,
his cup of tears.

God suffer little men
the taste of soul's desire Day-Breakers We are not come to wage a strife
With swords upon this hill,
It is not wise to waste the life
Against a stubborn will.
Yet would we die as some have done.
Beating a way for the rising sun
A bird delicious to the taste,
On which an army once did feast,
Sent by an hand unseen;
A creature of the horned race,
Which Britain's royal standards grace;
A gem of vivid green;

A town of gaiety and sport,
Where beaux and beauteous nymphs resort,
And gallantry doth reign;
A Dardan hero fam'd of old
For youth and beauty, as we're told,
And by a monarch slain;

A peer of popular applause,
Who doth our violated laws,
And grievances proclaim.
Th' initials show a vanquish'd town,
That adds fresh glory and renown
To old Britannia's fame. Forsakes his azure-paved hall
Lo! for this dark terrestrial ball
A prince of heav'nly birth!
Divine Humanity behold,
What wonders rise, what charms unfold
At his descent to earth!

The bosoms of the great and good
With wonder and delight he view'd,
And fix'd his empire there:
Him, close compressing to his breast,
The sire of gods and men address'd,
"My son, my heav'nly fair!

"Descend to earth, there place thy throne;
"To succour man's afflicted son
"Each human heart inspire:
"To act in bounties unconfin'd
"Enlarge the close contracted mind,
"And fill it with thy fire."

Quick as the word, with swift career
He wings his course from star to star,
And leaves the bright abode.
The Virtue did his charms impart;
Their G-----! then thy raptur'd heart
Perceiv'd the rushing God:

For when thy pitying eye did see
The languid muse in low degree,
Then, then at thy desire
Descended the celestial nine;
O'er me methought they deign'd to shine,
And deign'd to string my lyre.

Can Afric's muse forgetful prove?
Or can such friendship fail to move
A tender human heart?
Immortal Friendship laurel-crown'd
The smiling Graces all surround
With ev'ry heav'nly Art A Hymn To The Morning ATTEND my lays, ye ever honour'd nine,
Assist my labours, and my strains refine;
In smoothest numbers pour the notes along,
For bright Aurora now demands my song.
Aurora hail, and all the thousand dies,
Which deck thy progress through the vaulted skies:
The morn awakes, and wide extends her rays,
On ev'ry leaf the gentle zephyr plays;
Harmonious lays the feather'd race resume,
Dart the bright eye, and shake the painted plume.
Ye shady groves, your verdant gloom display
To shield your poet from the burning day:
Calliope awake the sacred lyre,
While thy fair sisters fan the pleasing fire:
The bow'rs, the gales, the variegated skies
In all their pleasures in my bosom rise.
See in the east th' illustrious king of day!
His rising radiance drives the shades away--
But Oh! I feel his fervid beams too strong,
And scarce begun, concludes th' abortive song. Southern Mansion Summary Arna was an important, and influential, during the Harlem renaissance. He spread The concepts of racial equality, and struggle to achieve success. he also depicted the tough life that African americans had to deal with. The phrase A dry leaf trembles on a wall is personification. The phrase still as death, is repeated a lot to show depression. This Summary This poem is about the way feeling behind some one or something could change. Unless its truly how you feel about someone or something. If you believe you can do what ever you want in life. Even if you have made many mistakes. Just get back up, and go forth with it. Even Because Summary This poem is about doing the right thing. In many situations it is important to do the right thing. Not just because its a law or because you were told to do so by an authority figure. Do it because you know you should. Doing the right thing helps every thing flow smoothly. In Every Direction Summary This poem is about in every direction there is something new. In this poem i am certainly sure that he tries to put you in his mind set when he wrote this poem. He is giving an example that the mind is a very powerful tool. Use your brain power for good, and not for bad. This poem describes more than one life lesson. I would recommend it to any body. God Gives To Man Summary The author is basically describing the common differences between men of different ethnic groups; for instance, "the yellow man" is referring to the Asian man while the "blue-eyed man" is referring to the Anglo-Saxon man white man dominated in Europe , and of course the black man. This poem is basically asking God to bless the young men, the little men in particular (boys) to be better men of the world, and become one. Day Breakers Summary a reflection on the bravery and valiance that people in Harlem had for creating a black renaissance in racist America. The overall tone of the poem is bold and courageous and speaks in the first person perspective of the speaker. It can be assumed that the poet himself is speaking throughout the poem, as Arna Bontemps was a poet of the Harlem Renaissance and witness the embarking of a new frontier for African Americans first-hand. The use of figurative language to express courage along with couplet of rhyme to weave a image of revolution in the Harlem Renaissance. Paul Laurenec Dunbar She makes the readers aware of the fact that though nothing lasts forever but from the time a thing is born till the time it dies, it is as a matter of fact truly beautiful and adorable. Every living being on Earth, be it a little flower or a human being is an exclusive design of God and we should love and respect each and every creation of God.

One can truly value and respect the small things in life only when he or she is deprived of the basic material pleasures in life. The poetess is a black lady who has been bought to America to serve as a slave to the whites. It is in this adversity of her life that she understands the basic facts of life; happiness is found in smaller things in life, if one continuously searches happiness he will not find it. Happiness is like a butterfly when you sit still, it quietly comes and rests up on your shoulders.

The poetess has used personification and metaphors to explain the beauty of the nature. She stresses on the importance of the beautiful morning, the gentle wind, the setting sun, the beautiful sky and the shades that the sun creates. If one loses thyself in the beauty of nature, he or she will be left with no pain as a result of which they will also start understanding the deepest meaning of life.

The writing style, the diction and the choice of words is amazing and reflect the fact that whenever Wheatley writes a poem, it is bound to mesmerize the audience, all the readers in general. In this poem, the poetess talks about the beauty that each and every morning is filled with and also the chirping of the birds, the nature inspires us every day to forget the tensions of the past day and get involved in the beauty of the present moment. A person who forgets the past and is not worried about the future is the one who can live a happy life, always. A Hymn to Morning The poet asks, and Phillis can't refuse
To show th' obedience of the Infant muse.
She knows the Quail of most inviting taste
Fed Israel's army in the dreary waste;
And what's on Britain's royal standard borne,
But the tall, graceful, rampant Unicorn?
The Emerald with a vivid verdure glows
Among the gems which regal crowns compose;
Boston's a town, polite and debonair,
To which the beaux and beauteous nymphs repair,
Each Helen strikes the mind with sweet surprise,
While living lightning flashes from her eyes,
See young Euphorbus of the Dardan line
By Manelaus' hand to death resign:
The well known peer of popular applause
Is C--m zealous to support our laws.
Quebec now vanquish'd must obey,
She too much annual tribute pay
To Britain of immortal fame.
And add new glory to her name A Rebus Summary A Hymn To Humanity She makes the readers aware of the fact that though nothing lasts forever but from the time a thing is born till the time it dies, it is as a matter of fact truly beautiful and adorable. Every living being on Earth, be it a little flower or a human being is an exclusive design of God and we should love and respect each and every creation of God.

One can truly value and respect the small things in life only when he or she is deprived of the basic material pleasures in life. The poetess is a black lady who has been bought to America to serve as a slave to the whites. It is in this adversity of her life that she understands the basic facts of life; happiness is found in smaller things in life, if one continuously searches happiness he will not find it. Happiness is like a butterfly when you sit still, it quietly comes and rests up on your shoulders.

The poetess has used personification and metaphors to explain the beauty of the nature. She stresses on the importance of the beautiful morning, the gentle wind, the setting sun, the beautiful sky and the shades that the sun creates. If one loses thyself in the beauty of nature, he or she will be left with no pain as a result of which they will also start understanding the deepest meaning of life We Wear The Mask We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,--
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask! sympathy what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals--
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting--
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,--
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings--
I know why the caged bird sings! Encouraged Because you love me I have much achieved,
Had you despised me then I must have failed,
But since I knew you trusted and believed,
I could not disappoint you and so prevailed. We wear the mask summary We do not portray our true self to others. We pretend we are someone else because we are afraid ot being harshly judged. We want to be accepted so we attempt to be what friends and acquaintances want us to be Encouraged summary This poem is about how someone believing, and caring a bout could push you too succeed because they wouldn't want to let you down. Caring play a big role in achieving a goal, because the more you think you can you can. Sympathy Summary I think that \"Sympathy\" is more about the personal struggles of the poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar. Dunbar wrote at the time when African Americans were belittled and were not accepted as human beings, therefore it was rare for any African American to gain recognitions in the sophisticated arts such as poetry, and Dunbar did gain fame. However, it was for his dialect poetry, which is less sophisticated, often humorous poetry that is written in the African American dialect at the time (for example, the word \"the\" would be \"de\", \"that\" would be \"dat\"). Dunbar wanted to gain an audience through his widely accepted dialect poetry, and then start writing his \"major\" poetry; a more sophisticated type that was, at the time, only \"white man\'s poetry\". However, the audience just kept asking for more dialect poetry, and stomped on his sophisticated works. Dunbar, having a keen awareness on the ways of society, realized that he would not be accepted by the culture of the time. I believe that in \"Sympathy\", Dunbar expressed his frustrations at the limitations that his race, the culture, and society put on his talent and aspirations. Dunbar is the caged bird; he is locked in the cage of prejudice and racism
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