Friday, December 18, 2015

A checklist of poems featuring ex-slaves

Evie Shockley is one of many poets to showcase Frederick Douglass in verse


What follows is a partial list of poems by various poets featuring ex-slaves, rebellious slaves, and other topics concerning slavery and struggles for liberation. There are more of course, but for now, I've listed works that have come up in my teaching and writing over the last few years.  

The Amistad Revolt
• "Amistad" by Elizabeth Alexander 
• “The Middle Passage” by Robert Hayden
•  Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (2011) by Kevin Young

Saartjie Baartman
• “The Venus Hottentot” by Elizabeth Alexander

Jean-Jacques Dessalines
• "Dessalines" by James E. Cherry

Frederick Douglass
• "Frederick Douglass" by Sam Cornish
• "Frederick Douglass Falls in Love" by Sean DesVignes
Frederick Douglass" by Paul Laurence Dunbar
• "Douglass" by Paul Laurence Dunbar
• "Frederick Douglass: 1817-1895" by Langston Hughes
• "Frederick Douglass" by Robert Hayden
• "Frederick Douglass and the Slave Breaker" by Dudley Randall
• "From the Lost Letters of Frederick Douglass" by Evie Shockley
• "(mis)takes one to know one" by Evie Shockley
• "Douglass, a Last Letter" by Tim Seibles
• "Frederick Douglass Speaks before the Anti-Mexican War Abolitionists" by Vievee Francis 
• "Douglass in London 1854" by Reginald Flood
• "Douglass in London 1861" by Reginald Flood
• "Douglass in Cedar Hill" by Reginald Flood 

Fortune
Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem by Marilyn Nelson

Harriet Jacobs
• "After the Attic" by Reginald Flood

Toussaint Louverture
• "Toussaint" by James E. Cherry

Mary Prince
• "Mary Prince Tells Her Own History" by Reginald Flood
• "Theft of Hours That Belong to Sleep" by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

Venture Smith
The Freedom Business: Including A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa (2008) by Marilyn Nelson

Sojourner Truth 
• "Harriet" by Lucille Clifton

Harriet Tubman
• "Harriet Tubman" by Samuel Allen
• "Harriet" by Lucille Clifton
• "Harriet Tubman" by Sam Cornish
• “Runagate Runagate” by Robert Hayden  
They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems (2004) by Quraysh Ali Lansana
• "Harriet Tubman" by Margaret Walker 

Nat Turner
• "Peeling Off the Skin" by Opal Palmer Adisa
• "Nat Turner Dreams of Insurrection" by Elizabeth Alexander 
• "Nat Turner in the Clearing" by Alvin Aubert
• "In Mr. Turner's Fields" by Sam Cornish 
• "The Ballad of Nat Turner" by Robert Hayden

Phillis Wheatley
• "A Letter From Phyllis Wheatley: London, 1773" by Robert Hayden
• "Phillis" by Naomi Long Madgett
• "bio / autobiography (or, 18th-century multiculturalism)" by Evie Shockley

York
• Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York (2004) by Frank X. Walker
• When Winter Come: The Ascension of York (2008) by Frank X. Walker

Various
• "Wise I" by Amiri Baraka
• “Belov├Ęd” by Kamau Brathwaite
• "Runaway Slave (Haiku)" by James E. Cherry 
• "Slaveship" by Lucille Clifton
• "Slave Market" by Sam Cornish
• "A Dog Looking" by Sam Cornish
• "Coffle" by Reginald Flood
• "White Glove Test" by Vievee Francis 
• "Drummer Boy" by Vievee Francis
• "O Daedalus, Fly Away Home" by Robert Hayden
• "On Listening to the Spirituals" by Lance Jeffers
Slave Moth (2004) by Thylias Moss
• "Flight to Canada" by Ishmael Reed
• "Native Guard" by Natasha Trethewey
• "Ex-Slave" by Margaret Walker
• “Reward" by Kevin Young

Related:
Poems about slavery and struggles for liberation

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