Thursday, May 10, 2012

10 Moments of Importance in African American Poetry, 1965 - 1976

1965 - Malcolm X is assassinated in Harlem on February 21. Poet and essayist Larry Neal was in the audience and a witness to the murder.  

1965 - The Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School opens in Harlem in April. Larry Neal, Amiri Baraka, and others participate in a "Black Arts" symposium, parade, and poetry reading in Harlem to announce the opening of the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School.

1966 - John Oliver Killens organizes a major black writers conference at Fisk University in Nashville in April. The conference receives subsequent widespread attention after the publication of David Llorens's article on the conference "Writers Converge at Fisk University" was published in the June issue of Negro Digest.  

1967 - John Coltrane dies July 17, and quickly becomes a major subject of tribute for black poets.

1968 - Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing edited by Baraka and Neal is published. 

1969 - Nikki Giovanni has a book party promoting her volume Black Judgement at a jazz club in New York City. The event draws a crowd and gains a mention in the New York Times. In April, the Times features Giovanni in an article "Renaissance in Black Poetry Expresses Anger," which leads the poet to receiving widespread attention and invitations to read and present.

1969 - Carolyn Rodgers's essay "Black Poetry--Where It's At" appears in Negro Digest in September. 

1973 - Understanding the New Black Poetry: Black Speech and Black Music as Poetic References, edited by Stephen Henderson, is published. Henderson provides an extensive introduction essay about the nature and characteristics of African American poetry.

1976 - Black World magazine, a major venue for the publication of black poetry, ceases publication. 

1976 - Poet and scholar Eugene B. Redmond publishes Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry, A Critical Study.

Related: A Notebook on the Black Arts Era

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