On my podcast I recommended four historical poetry collections by Black poets, but I want to add three more here on my blog.
Based on fifteen years of archival research, The Age of Phillis, by award-winning writer Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, imagines the life and times of Wheatley: her childhood in The Gambia, West Africa, her life with her white American owners, her friendship with Obour Tanner, and her marriage to the enigmatic John Peters.—from the publisher’s website.
With ambitious manipulations of poetic forms, Tyehimba Jess presents the sweat and story behind America’s blues, worksongs and church hymns. Part fact, part fiction, Jess’s much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I.— from the publisher’s website.
Charting the intersections of public and personal history, Thrall explores the historical, cultural, and social forces that determine the roles to which a mixed-race daughter and her white father are consigned. In a brilliant series of poems about the taxonomies of mixed unions, Natasha Trethewey creates a fluent and vivid backdrop to her own familial predicament.— from the publisher’s website.
Happy Black History Month! What did you do to celebrate?