Reading Race in American Poetry

Reading Race in American Poetry : An Area of Act

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Situated at the intersection of poetry, race, and politics, this collection exposes the many and various ways race informs American poetry. Contributors examine the historical influence of race on critical reception and the evolution of racial definitions and archetypes. They take a fresh look at influential and overlooked figures who have shaped poetic dialogue about race, such as William S. Braithwaite, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Duncan, James Weldon Johnson, Bob Kaufman, Claude McKay, Harriet Monroe, Melvin B. Tolson, and Jay Wright. They consider the pressures of race on poetic form and the racialized cultural work of modernist poets such as Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams. They also address questions of identity and national belonging for black Americans, white use of African and African-American materials, the conspicuous absence of innovative or experimental black poets from anthologies supporting "multicultural" curricula, and other topics of current and historical interest.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 248 pages
  • 159.5 x 238 x 22.9mm | 567.32g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252025180
  • 9780252025181

Review quote

"The essay on W. S. Braithwaite's effective rivalry with Poetry's Harriett Monroe breaks new ground critically and is worth the price of the book... Richer by far than the requisite introductions in anthologies of black poetry, this worthy work is recommended for all undergraduate, graduate, and general poetry collections." -- Choice "A provisional first step in a process of reconfiguring the ways in which race and poetry are understood... [Contributors] succeed in revealing aspects of the complex engagements that connect these categories and their impact on the construction of both American and African American identity... Presents a dynamic survey of this area while providing an opportunity to collapse the narrow parameters and prefabricated notions of race that obscure its vast dimensions." -- Michael Antonucci, African American Review ADVANCE PRAISE "This volume cannot be ignored by anyone interested in the central questions of American literary scholarship: the tangled relationship between representation and reality and the engagement between marginalized poets and a panoply of (post)modernist traditions. These are incisive and provocative readings of poets whose work will be better known in a decade than it is today." -- Craig Hansen Werner, author of A Change Is Gonna Come: Music, Race, and the Soul of America
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