Friday, August 28, 2015

Bad Men and Black Poetry

 This semester in one of my classes, we'll spend time on a recurring topic for me with poetry: bad men. The students and I will take a look at poems showcasing figures such as Shine, Stagolee, and a whole host of other related bad and difficult men.

[Related: Bad, Phenomenal Women and Black Poetry]

We'll open with poems about ex-slaves, including a few different pieces paying tribute to Frederick Douglass. We'll cover poems by Amiri Baraka, Margaret Walker, and Etheridge Knight. We'll also cover Tyehimba Jess's Leadbelly and Adrian Matejka's The Big Smoke

Here's a list of some of the poems, we'll cover:

• Opal Palmer Adisa – "Peeling Off the Skin"
• Elizabeth Alexander – "Nat Turner Dreams of Insurrection"
• Amiri Baraka – "Monday in B-Flat," “Geobolical,” “Culture,” "In the Funk World," “Dope," “Jungle Jim Flunks His Screen Test,” “Incident
• Gwendolyn Brooks – "We Real Cool"
• Lucille Clifton – "slaveship," "wishes for sons"
• Cornelius Eady – “How I Got Born," "My Heart," "What the Sheriff Suspects"
• Vievee Francis – “White Glove Test,” “Drummer Boy”
• Robert Hayden – "Frederick Douglass,” "The Whipping"
• Langston Hughes – “Bad Man,” “Frederick Douglass: 1817-1895”
• Tyehimba Jess – “When the police stop you”
• Helene Johnson – "Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem"
• Etheridge Knight – “I Sing of Shine,” “Hard Rock Returns to Prison From the Hospital for the Criminal Insane”
• Gary Copeland Lilley – “Let the Devil First Ask One Question,” “Report from Marcus, the Hearse Driver For Wilson’s Funeral Home”
• Tony Medina “Questions on the Police Officer's Exam"
• Larry Neal – "Poppa Stoppa Speaks from His Grave"
• Dudley Randall – “Frederick Douglass and the Slave Breaker”
• Ishmael Reed – “Flight to Canada”
• Patricia Smith – "Skinhead"
• Margaret Walker – "Bad-Man Stagolee"
• Kevin Young – "Black Cat Blues," "Bling Bling Blues," "Black Jack: b. 31 March 1878"

Bad man poetry

No comments: