Powerful and diverse, this unique collection of African American poetry spans three centuries of writing in America. Poets bare their souls, speak their minds, trace their roots, and proclaim their dreams in the thirty-six poems compiled here. From lamentations to celebrations, the poems of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Gwendolyn Brooks, among others, reveal the ironies of black America, juxtaposing themes of resistance and reconciliation, hope and despair.
Eminent scholar Catherine Clinton further illuminates these poems through brief biographies of the poets and notes on the text. The result is an authoritative introduction to twenty-five of America's best poets. Prize-winning artist Stephen Alcorn lends his own artistic vision and passion to the collection, providing stunning visual interpretations of each poem. Together they create a stirring tribute to these great poets.
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Stephen Alcorn is an acclaimed painter and printmaker who has created artwork for a number of anthologies and picture books, including Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney, and I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry by Catherine Clinton. He lives in Cambridge, New York. Visit Stephen Alcorn at alcorngallery.com.
Grade 4 Up-The print version of I, Too, Sing America, edited by Catherine Clinton (Houghton, 1998), was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. This unabridged recording of the anthology features 36 poems by 25 African American poets (including two Pulitzer Prize winners and one Poet Laureate of the U.S.), performed in the widely diverse styles of Ashley Bryan and Renee Joshua-Porter. Joshua-Porter's interpretations flow in a smooth, expressive storyteller's style, making it easy to follow the thoughts being set forth. Bryan tends to use great dramatic flair and slow, careful enunciation in his oratory, a style that demands the listener's attention. The most outstanding feature of this collection is that a biographical sketch explaining the historical context of the poem prefaces each poet's work. The first cassette begins with the poem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by James Weldon Johnson, sung with musical accompaniment in the style popularly called the African American anthem. It is followed by "I, Too, Sing America" by Langston Hughes, which segues nicely into an explanation of the role of the African American poet over the past three centuries. From Lucy Terry's 18th century "Bar's Fight," the first published work by an African American poet, to Rita Dove's "Primer" written near the end of the 20th century, the black American struggle for equality and appreciation is a recurring theme. School libraries will find this set especially useful to meet demands for Black History materials.
Joanne K. Hammond, Chambersburg Area Middle School, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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