20th Century African American Poetry
English 460: Seminar in Women's / Minority Literatures

[ 10 Individual Poets | Other Poets | Library Research | Class Reserve List]

Internet Resources on 10 Individual Poets

Amiri Baraka; image from 
San José Mercury News (Online) Paul Beatty's White Boy 
Shuffle; image from Amazon.com Sterling Brown; image from 
National Public Radio (NPR.com) Cyrus Cassells; image by Kevin Murphy, 
from Dia Center for the Arts website Gwendolyn Brooks; 
image from Academy of American Poets Rita Dove; image from 
Academy of American Poets Robert Hayden; image from 
Academy of American Poets Etheridge Knight and son; 
image from Academy of American Poets Yusef Komunyakaa; image 
from Academy of American Poets Thylias Moss's Tale of a Sky 
Blue Dress, image from Amazon.com

Amiri Baraka

Painted Voices: Amiri Baraka
Biographical note and a painting by Gilbert Fletcher of the poet, from Black Collegian Online.

Phat African American Poetry Book: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones)
Text of various poems, including "Ancient Music," "In the Funk World," and "leroy." Includes several portraits of the poet. Page constructed by enthusiast "bonVìbré" (who may or may not be Scott W. Williams, a professor of mathematics at SUNY Buffalo). (Readers may wish to compare these online poems with their published versions to ensure authenticity.)


Paul Beatty

"Darryl Strawberry Asleep in a Field of Dreams"
Full-text poem, from Poetry into the Twenty-First Century. Reproduced by an anonymous Slam Poetry fan at geocities.com. (Readers may wish to compare these online poems with their published versions to ensure authenticity.)

Dialogues: Paul Beatty / Wing Young Huie
Online materials accompanying an exhibit and performance by Beatty and Huie at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Includes brief biographical information on Beatty, photos, and video clips of Beatty's performance, readings (including a reading from White Boy Shuffle) and an interview. (Note: QuickTime audio clips currently (8/99) not functional in Library.)

"For a Copy of This Transcript"
Full-text poem, published in the online journal, World, vol. 51. From the Poetry Project.

"A Three Point Shot from Andromeda"
Full-text poem, from the United States of Poetry / World of Poetry website, where Beatty is called "... the T.S. Eliot of his generation."


Sterling Brown

Academy of American Poets: Sterling A. Brown
Biographical entry and links to other scholarly Internet sites on the poet. Also includes a photograph, a sound file of the poet reading "Slim Greer in Hell," and the text to "Riverbank Blues" and "Southern Road."

Callaloo: Sterling A. Brown (ISU only)
Special issue of Callaloo 21(4), 1998 dedicated entirely to Sterling Brown. Includes a Brown chronology, many photographs of the poet, eight full-text poems by Brown and five others (including Sonia Sanchez and Michael S. Harper) in celebration of the poet, numerous critical essays (including several essays by Brown), an interview, bibliography, and more. (Journal available at ISU Parks Library PS508.N3 C34x)

Painted Voices: Sterling Brown
Biographical note and a painting by Gilbert Fletcher of the poet, from Black Collegian Online.

Sterling Allen Brown
Brief biographical information on the poet, plus links to other Internet resources on Brown. From the African American Literature Book Club.

Sterling Brown
Includes a web biography of Sterling Brown, and a sound file of the poet reading "Slim in Hell" [sic]. (RealAudio's Real Player Plus software is available for downloading on the site.) By Mark Patrick; from Ann Arbor Poetry Forum.


Gwendolyn Brooks

Academy of American Poets: Gwendolyn Brooks
Brief biographical information on the poet and a selected bibliography of some of her works. Includes links to other scholarly Gwendolyn Brooks sites on the Internet, a photo, and a sound file of the poet reading "We Real Cool."

Painted Voices: Gwendolyn Brooks
Biographical note and a painting by Gilbert Fletcher of the poet, from Black Collegian Online.

Poetry Author Casebooks: Gwendolyn Brooks
Lengthy and authoritative biographical profile of the poet. From Literature Online, a website to support Kennedy's & Gioia's textbook, Literature (7th edition).


Cyrus Cassells

"Liberation in Venice"
Full-text poem, published in online magazine Provincetown Arts, vol. 12, 1996.

"Poem for the Artists of the Holocaust"
Full-text poem, accompanied by a photo and brief biographical information on the poet. From online program to the Dia Center for the Arts' Readings in Contemporary Poetry, New York City, March 15, 1996.

"The Toss"
Full-text poem, published in the Boston Review, vol. 18(6).


Rita Dove

Academy of American Poets: Rita Dove
Brief bio-bibliographical information, links to other scholarly Internet sites, and the text to "The Bistro Styx."

Callaloo: Rita Dove's Mother Love: A Discussion (ISU only)
Three scholarly research papers by Alison Booth, Stephen Cushman, and Lotta Lofgren on Dove's work Mother Love, from Callaloo, a major research journal on African American and African diaspora literature. Special section edited by Mark Edmunson. (Journal available in ISU Parks Library, PS508.N3 C34x)

"Dawn Revisited" (ISU only)
Full-text poem by Dove from Callaloo 22(1), 1999, p. 24. (Journal available at ISU Parks Library PS508.N3 C34x)

"Heroes" (ISU only)
Full-text of poem by Rita Dove, published in Callaloo 18(2), 1995, p. 231. Includes link to brief biographical note on the poet. (Journal available in ISU Parks Library PS508.N3 C34x)

Poets in Person: Rita Dove
Features a sound file of the poet reading " Flash Cards." (Note that link on page is broken, but link here is accessible.) Includes a very brief paragraph of biographical information, and a link to Dove's résumé at the Univ. of Virginia. From Wilmington University's Poets in Person project, which was a joint project of the American Poetry Association, the American Library Association, and the National Endowment of the Humanities. Although the pages are still up, the website is no longer being maintained.


Robert Hayden

Academy of American Poets: Robert Hayden
Brief bio-bibliographical information, scholarly links elsewhere, and the text to the poems "Full Moon," "Middle Passage," "The Whipping," "Those Winter Sundays," and "Soledad."

Painted Voices: Robert Hayden
Biographical note and a painting by Gilbert Fletcher of the poet, from Black Collegian Online.

Poetry Author Casebooks: Robert Hayden
Lengthy and authoritative biographical profile of the poet. From Literature Online, a website to support Kennedy's & Gioia's textbook, Literature (7th edition).


Etheridge Knight

Academy of American Poets: Etheridge Knight
Brief bio-bibliographical information on the poet, links to other scholarly websites, and a sound file of the poet reading "The Idea of Ancestry."

Callaloo: Etheridge Knight (1931-1991), Poet (ISU only)
Special section in Callaloo v. 19(4), 1996 on the poet, edited by Jean Anaporte-Easton. Includes many color photographs of Knight, five full-text poems, letters, an interview with the poet, and a critical essay by Anaporte-Easton. (Journal available in ISU Parks Library PS508.N3 C34x)


Yusef Komunyakaa

Academy of American Poets: Yusef Komunyakaa
Brief bio-bibliographical information on the poet, scholarly links elsewhere, a sound file of the poet reading "My Father's Love Letters," and the text to the poem "The Whistle."

Callaloo: Poems (ISU only)
Seven full-text poems by the poet published in Callaloo 20(1), 1997, including " Bennelong's Blues," " Heroes of Waterloo," " Red Dust," " A Story," " Strands," " The Tally," and " The Trapper's Bride." (Journal available in ISU Parks Library PS508.N3 C34x)

Internet Poetry Archive: Yusef Komunyakaa
Full-text and sound files of twenty four poems by Komunyakaa, plus links to several online critical essays, a select bibliography, and a biography of the poet. From the Univ. of North Carolina.


Thylias Moss

"Beginning the Rock at Abbot School" (ISU only)
Full-text poem by the poet, published in Callaloo 19(3), 1996, p. 708. (Journal available in ISU Parks Library PS508.N3 C34x)

"A Way of Breathing" (ISU only)
Full-text poem by the poet, published in Callaloo 19(3), 1996, p. 709. (Journal available in ISU Parks Library PS508.N3 C34x)


Internet Resources on Other Poets

Academy of American Poets: Poets of the Harlem Renaissance & After
Short summary essay with links to biographical information, poems, and some recordings of representative poets of this period reading selected works. Includes Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Brown, Countee Cullen, Robert Hayden, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Claude McKay, and Jean Toomer.

Internet Poetry Archive: Margaret Walker
Full-text and sound files of sixteen poems read by the poet, plus links to essays, sound files of an interview with the poet, a select bibliography, and a biography. From the Univ. of North Carolina.

Painted Voices
Biographical notes and painted portraits by Gilbert Fletcher of contemporary African American poets, including Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Sonia Sanchez, Alice Walker, John Edgar Wideman, and August Wilson. From Black Collegian Online.

Poetry Author Casebooks
Lengthy and authoritative biographical profiles of many world poets, including James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Alice Walker, and August Wilson. From Literature Online, a website to support Kennedy's & Gioia's textbook, Literature (7th edition).

Voice of the Shuttle: Afro-American Literature
Extensive list of links to online resources relevant to African American literature and writers of many periods. Includes some poets, such as Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes, among others. Generally a good resource, but one that currently (8/99) includes many dead links particularly in the African American section. By Alan Liu, of the Univ. California, Santa Barbara English Department.

Writing Black
Another extensive list of links to online African American texts available on the Web. Includes texts by many authors, poets such as Sonia Sanchez, Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, and Maya Angelou, as well as full-text speeches delivered by individuals such as Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and others. By Andrew L. Graham of Keele University, UK.


Library Research

finding ARTICLES, POEMS, INTERVIEWS, CRITICISM

Black Literature Criticism. James P. Draper, ed. 1992. REF PS153.N5 .B556 1992.
Lengthy excerpts from authoritative critical essays on major African, African American, and Caribbean authors, and biographical information; includes brief bibliographies of principal works. Helps to give an understanding of how a given author's work has been received and reviewed. Poets profiled include Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Brown, Robert Hayden, and Etheridge Knight.

Columbia Granger's Index to African American Poetry.
(Not yet published; on order for REF)

Expanded Academic ASAP
Citation and (often) full-text database of periodical literature on many subjects, including literature. Especially useful for locating book reviews. Updated daily; coverage is from 1994-present, with earlier backfiles (back to 1980- ) available for some publications.

J-Stor Search (ISU only)
J-Stor is an electronic journals archive that includes back issues of African American titles such as African American Review, 1992-95, (and its previous incarnations as Black American Literature Forum, 1976-91, and 1967-76 of Negro American Literature Forum), Callaloo 1976-94, and Journal of Negro History 1916-95, as well a number of mainstream literature journals such as Modern Language Notes and American Literature. Contents of these back issues, including individual poems and reviews, can be searched by keywords, author, date, and by journals. Search results are full-text facsimiles of the journal articles.

MLA International Bibliography (ISU only)
Long the standard in its field, the MLA International Bibliography provides access to citations to scholarly articles on literary criticism, modern languages, linguistics, and folklore gathered from 3,500 journals, series, books, and essay collections, from 1963-present. The MLA does not index individual poems.

Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. REF PN95 .T8
Lengthy series pulls together excerpts from authoritative signed critical essays on important works by selected twentieth-century writers. Also includes brief biographical information. Use the cumulative index in the back of each volume to identify writers of interest and the TCLC volume in which s/he is treated.


reading LIVES AND WORKS (Biographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias)

Biography & Genealogy Master Index (ISU only)
Massive index that helps locate biographical information in standard reference books and other materials, much of which is available in ISU Parks Library.

Contemporary Authors. REF CT103 .C767
Expansive series provides biographical information on thousands of world authors and poets. Use the paperback Cumulative Index to the series to locate writers of interest; the Index also provides access not only to profiles in the Contemporary Authors series, but also to similar bio-bibliographical and critical literary information published in companion series such as Black Writers, the Dictionary of Literary Biography (see below for description), and Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, to name a few of the many series included in the Contemporary Authors Cumulative Index.

Dictionary of Literary Biography. REF PS3 D5x
Multivolume series features lengthy signed bio-bibliographical articles profiling world authors and poets. Each volume is arranged by a particular theme, such as "American Poets Since World War II." Each volume also contains a cumulative (to date) index, so use the index in the most recent volume to locate poets of interest throughout the entire DLB series. The related DLB Documentary Series (REF PS129 D48) profiles entire literary movements, such as the Black Aesthetic Movement. Again, the cumulative index will help pinpoint relevant volumes.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Guide to Black History (ISU only)
Online multimedia encyclopedia includes biographical profiles of the most major literary figures and poets, and background articles on broad topics of interest, with particularly strong coverage of civil rights and music; topics such as poetry and literature are not as well covered. Also includes annotated African American web links of interest. Contents are searchable only by chronology or by broad topic.

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture & History. REF E185 .E54 1996
Authoritative signed essays profile individuals, regional histories, academic disciplines, and a fascinating range of cultural and historical topics. Roughly two-thirds of all entries in this indispensable five-volume set are biographical.

Oxford Companion to African American Literature. William L. Andrews, et al, eds. REF PS153 N5 O96 1997.
Definitive signed entries on authors, their works, literary movements, and other relevant information, arranged in dictionary order. Includes essays on topics such as the Black Arts Movement and poetry in general.


learning Research Tips

How to Critically Analyze Information Sources
Comprehensive online tutorial in the form of questions to consider when evaluating both print and Web materials, written by reference librarians at Cornell University.

Online Citation Manuals
List of popular style manuals (such as the MLA and the Chicago) and links to their Web versions. Call numbers are also given for their print counterparts in ISU's Parks Library.

Researching Online
Exhaustive and authoritative online textbook provides much useful information on when and how to use the Internet for scholarly literary research. URLs to sample sites and listserv addresses are provided, along with instructions on how to make use of numerous Internet services. Includes links to other helpful sites. From Literature Online, a website supplement to Kennedy & Gioia's textbook, Literature (7th edition).


Evaluate the librarian

Comments: savega@iastate.edu
Iowa State University Library, Ames, IA 50011
URL: http://www.public.iastate.edu/~savega/afampoet.html
Last updated: 02-Aug-2002
Created: 16 July 1999