Thursday, July 11, 2013
Mapping those Ohio poets
Last month, I published a list of poets by state of birth. I was intrigued that such a large number of the poets on my list were born in Ohio. Since I've been experimenting with different approaches to presenting information about African American poetry, I decided to create a map and identify the hometowns of 5 of the poets from Ohio that I have studied.
Mari Evans is from Toledo. Marilyn Nelson is from Cleveland. Rita Dove is from Akron. Paul Laurence Dunbar is from Dayton, and William J. Harris is from Yellow Springs, which is near Dayton.
The process of looking at and creating a map helped me better appreciate the geographic distances among these Ohio-born poets. I also appreciated the idea that they were from different areas of the state. Searching for and locating their places on the map gave me a more accurate view of them as Ohio poets, or better yet, I gained a sense of their places in the state.
Now I'll hold off on reading too much into the map and those locations, because all of the poets ended up moving on to various other places. But perhaps maps like the one above offers more possibilities for thinking about the geographies of various poets.
Notebook on the Demographics of African American poetry