The recurring challenge for faculty designing survey or special topics poetry courses is choosing a good anthology. For African American poetry courses there are only three good options: Arnold Rampersad’s Oxford Anthology of African American Poetry (2005), Michael Harper’s Vintage Book of African American Poetry (2000), and Dudley Randall’s The Black Poets (1985). All are comprehensive collections, but each requires supplemental readings in key traditions and periods (spirituals, dialect, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts movement, post-civil rights era). I generally forego the poetry collections in favor of the Norton Anthology of African American Literature, which includes substantial scholarly apparatus and contextual materials, and assign supplementary critical readings such as Tony Bolden on innovation and funk, Joanne Gabbin on the black aesthetic tradition, Keith Leonard on formal poetry, Fred Moten on the black radical tradition, Michael North and Nadia Nurhussein on dialect, Howard...
Freedom Time: The Poetics and Politics of Black Experimental Writing by Anthony Reed
Hollis Robbins is director of the Center for Africana Studies in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and chair of Humanities at the Peabody Institute. Robbins has edited or coedited five books on nineteenth-century African American literature; the latest is The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers (Penguin), coedited with Henry Louis Gates Jr. (2017). She is currently completing a monograph, Forms of Contention: The African American Sonnet Tradition, under contract with University of Georgia Press.
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Hollis Robbins; Freedom Time: The Poetics and Politics of Black Experimental Writing by Anthony Reed. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 June 2017; 63 (2): 213–219. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-3923461
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