Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Timeline of African American Poetry, 1854 - 2013

Notes on the timeline

1854: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's volume of poetry Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects is published. 
1864: Frances E. W. Harper's poem "Bury Me in a Free Land" is published in Liberator, January 14.
1893: Paul Laurence Dunbar's first collection of poems Oak and Ivy is published.
1895: Alice Moore's Violets and other tales is published.
1896: Dunbar's Lyrics of Lowly Life are published.
1900: "Lift Every Voice and Sing," written by James Weldon Johnson, is performed for Booker T. Washington.
1905: John Johnson, brother of James Weldon Johnson, sets "Lift Every Voice and Sing" to music.
1913: Fenton Johnson's first volume A Little Dreaming is published.
1918: Georgia Douglas Johnson's The Heart of a Woman is published. "The Heart of a Woman."
1919: The NAACP adopts "Lift Every Voice and Sing" as "The Negro National Anthem."
1919: Claude McKay's "If We Must Die" is published in the July issue of Liberator
1921: Langston Hughes's "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is published in the June issue of The Crisis magazine.
1922: The Book of American Negro Poetry, edited by James Weldon Johnson, is published.
1923: Jean Toomer's Cane is published.
1925: The New Negro, edited by Alain Locke, is published.
1925: Countee Cullen's first volume Color is published.
1926: Langston Hughes's first volume The Weary Blues is published by Knopf.
1926: Langston Hughes's "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" appears in the June issue of The Nation
1932: Sterling A. Brown's Southern Road is published.
1937: Margaret Walker's "For My People" is published in the November 1937 issue of Poetry magazine.
1942: Margaret Walker's For My People,  recipient of the Yale Series of Younger Poets award, is published.
1945: Gwendolyn Brooks's A Street in Bronzeville is published by Harper & Row. 
1945: A version of Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage” is published in the journal Phylon (Vol. 6, No. 3 3rd Qtr., 1945).
1945: Another version of Hayden’s “Middle Passage” is published in Cross Section 1945.
1947: Melvin B. Tolson named poet laureate of Liberia.
1950: Gwendolyn Brooks is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her volume Annie Allen (1949). 
1959: Gwendolyn Brooks's "We Real Cool" is published in the September issue of Poetry magazine.
1962: Third published version of Hayden’s “Middle Passage” is published in his volume A Ballad of Remembrance.
1963: Blues People: Negro Music in White America by Amiri Baraka (then LeRoi Jones) is published.
1965: Malcolm X is assassinated in Harlem on February 21. Poet and essayist Larry Neal witnesses the murder. 
1965: The Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School opens in Harlem in April. 
1965: Broadside Press is created by Dudley Randall in Detroit, Michigan.   
1965: "A Poem For Black Hearts" (a tribute poem for Malcolm X) by Amiri Baraka published in Negro Digest.
1965: "Black Art" composed, performed by Amiri Baraka in November on Sonny Murray's album Sonny's Time Now.
1966: A fourth published version of Hayden’s “Middle Passage” appears in his Selected Poems.
1966 "Black Art" by Amiri Baraka is published in the January issue of Liberator.
1966: John Oliver Killens organizes a major black writers conference at Fisk University in Nashville in April.
1967: John Coltrane dies July 17, and quickly becomes a major subject of tribute for black poets.
1967: Third World Press is created by Haki Madhubuti in Chicago, Illinois.
1968: Poet Henry Dumas is killed May 23, New York City Transit Authority police officer.
1968: Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing edited by Baraka and Neal is published.
1969: Nikki Giovanni has a book party promoting Black Judgement; receives coverage in the Times. 
1969: Carolyn Rodgers's essay "Black Poetry--Where It's At" appears in Negro Digest in September.
1973: Understanding the New Black Poetry, edited by Stephen Henderson, is published. 
1976: Black World magazine, a major venue for the publication of black poetry, ceases publication. 
1976: Eugene B. Redmond publishes Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry, A Critical Study.
1976: Robert Hayden appointed Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.
1984: Eroding Witness (1985) by Nathaniel Mackey, selected by M. Harper as a National Poetry Series Winner.
1985: Gwendolyn Brooks appointed the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.
1985: Robert Hayden: Collected Poems, edited by Frederick Glaysher, is published.
1987: Rita Dove awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Thomas and Beulah.
1987: The Dark Room Collective is founded by Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange.
1988: Good Woman and Next: New Poems (1987), both by Lucille Clifton, finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.
1988: Dien Cai Dau by Yusef Komunyakaa is published.
1989: Gwendolyn Brooks is awarded the Robert Frost Medal. 
1990: Elizabeth Alexander's The Venus Hottentot is published.
1990: Rainbow Remnants in Rock Bottom Ghetto Sky (1991) by Thylias Moss, National Poetry Series Winner.
1992: Derek Walcott receives Nobel Prize for Literature.
1992: In the Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers, edited by Kevin Powell & Ras Baraka, published.
1993: Maya Angelou reads poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at inauguration of Bill Clinton.
1993: Rita Dove appointed Poet Laureate of U.S.
1993: Kevin Young's Most Way Home (1995) is selected by Lucille Clifton as a National Poetry Series Winner.
1994: The Furious Flower Poetry conference, organized by Joanne Gabbin, takes place September 29 - October 1.
1994: Yusef Komunyakaa wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
1996: Cave Canem, retreat for African American poets, is founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady.
1996: The Norton Anthology of African American Literature eds. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Nellie Y. McKay.
1997: The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde is published.
1999: Natasha Trethewey's Domestic Work (2000), selected by Rita Dove for the inaugural Cave Canem prize
1999: Ai wins the National Book Award for Poetry for Vice: New and Selected Poems.
2000: Lucille Clifton wins the National Book Award for Poetry for her volume Blessing the Boats.
2001: Yusef Komunyakaa awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.
2001: Terrance Hayes's Hip Logic (2002) is selected by Cornelius Eady as a National Poetry Series Winner.
2001: Sonia Sanchez is awarded the Robert Frost Medal.
2001: Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady is published. 
2002: Langston Hughes symposium, organized by Maryemma Graham, takes place.
2002: A. Baraka appointed Poet Laureate of New Jersey in July.
2002: Tracy K. Smith's volume The Body's Question selected by Kevin Young for Cave Canem Prize for poetry.
2004: Tyehimba Jess's Leadbelly: poems (2005), selected by Brigit P. Kelly as a National Poetry Series Winner.
2004: Second Furious Flower Poetry conference, organized by Joanne Gabbin, takes place September 22 - 25.
2005: Patricia Smith's Teahouse of the Almighty (2006) is a National Poetry Series Winner.
2006: Nathaniel Mackey wins the National Book Award for Poetry for his volume Splay Anthem.
2007: Lucille Clifton awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.
2007: Elizabeth Alexander becomes first-ever recipient of Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize.
2007: Natasha Trethewey wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her volume Native Guard (2006).
2007: Nikki Giovanni reads poem on April 17, commemorating the April 16 Virginia Tech massacre.
2008: Michael S. Harper is awarded the Robert Frost Medal.
2008: Douglas Kearney's The Black Automaton (2009) selected as a National Poetry Series Winner.
2008: Adrian Matejka's Mixology (2009) is selected by Kevin Young as a National Poetry Series Winner.
2009: Elizabeth Alexander reads "Praise Song for the Day" at inauguration of Barack Obama.
2009: Praise Song For The Day by E. Alexander and Bicycles by Nikki Giovanni are top best selling volumes
2010: Terrance Hayes wins National Book Award for Poetry for his volume Lighthead.  
2010: Lucille Clifton is awarded the Robert Frost Medal.
2010: "73 Poems for 73 Years: Celebrating the Life of Lucille Clifton" held on September 21.  
2010: Harryette Mullen wins the Jackson Poetry Prize. 
2011: Nikky Finney wins National Book Award for Poetry for her volume Head Off & Split.
2011: Sonia Sanchez appointed Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.
2011: The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, edited by Rita Dove, is published.
2012: Elizabeth Alexander begins her "twitter poem project."
2012: Marilyn Nelson is awarded the Robert Frost Medal.
2012: Tracy K. Smith wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her volume Life on Mars.
2012: N. Giovanni, M. Angelou & Joanne Gabbin organize a celebration for Toni Morrison on October 16.
2012: The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 is published by BOA Editions Ltd
2012: Natasha Trethewey is appointed Mississippi's Poet Laureate.
2012: Natasha Trethewey is announced as the new U.S. Poet Laureate.
2012: Kevin Young's book The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness is published by Graywolf Press.
2013: Natasha Trethewey is reappointed as the U.S. Poet Laureate.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love it, but what about before 1854? What about Phyllis Wheatley?

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this timeline. invaluable work. any chance you know the publishers of the poetry collections when they were published?