Poetry for Young People: African American Poetry
Helpful and generous annotations, a lively introduction, and beautiful illustrations by Karen Barbour make this the ideal book to introduce young readers to the marvels of poetry.
Marcellus Blount lives in New York City and is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He has published essays in PMLA, Callaloo, American Literary History, and Southern Review. He co-edited Representing Black Men with George Cunningham. His first study was entitled "In a Broken Tongue: Rediscovering African-American Poetry," and his current project is entitled Listening for My Name: African-American Men and the Politics of Friendship.
Karen Barbour's paintings have been shown at Jack Hanley Gallery in San Francisco and galleries in New York, Rome, Milan, Venice, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and elsewhere. She has an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and lives in Inverness, CA.
"Slim and handsome, this beautifully constructed collection introduces 27 poets from the days of Phillis Wheatley to well-established poets writing in the 21st century. A four-page introduction outlines historical periods and influences. Presented chronologically, the entries begin with a paragraph describing the poet's life and work. Paul Laurence Dunbar, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou, and others are joined by George Moses Horton, Mae V. Cowdery, Carolyn M. Rodgers, and others. A small glossary appears at the end of each poem. Barbour mixes a bit of collage with watercolor in spare drawings that meld folk and contemporary graphic elements. Stylized human figures are elongated and flat, most with large eyes but distinctive in character. They appear in side panels, vignettes, or full pages that are sometimes washed in soft color and other times set on white with no background. This elegant book nicely melds an overview of African American history, an introduction to these notable writers, and a bit of explanation of some poetry forms. It offers many uses in classrooms and libraries and is likely to be treasured by teens and adults perhaps even more than older children. Though only one or two selections represent the work of each poet, readers will find this a rich compendium in the inviting guise of a picture book.” —School Library Journal