Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Checklist of Emmett Till poems



I've been doing research on topics that inspire or capture the attention of poets. I've noted the interest among poets in Malcolm X, John Coltrane, and visual art. I was recently thinking about how poets are inspired to write about victims of violence. In that category, perhaps the most notable, longstanding individual subject is Emmett Till, a 14-year-old, who was brutally murdered by two white men in 1955. 

Several poets -- black and white -- have written about Till over the years decades. Given all the representations of Till in poetry, this list is certainly not exhaustive

• Elizabeth Alexander's "Narrative: Ali"
• Gwendolyn Brooks's "The Last Quatrain Of The Ballad Of Emmett Till"
• Gwendolyn Brooks's "A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi, Meanwhile a Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon" (1960)
• Jericho Brown's "Riddle" (2016)
• Wanda Coleman's "Emmett Till" (1986) 
• Sam Cornish's "Emmett Till (August 1955)"
• Richard Davidson's "Requiem for a Fourteen-Year-Old" 
• Bob Dylan "The Death of Emmett Till"
• Cornelius Eady's "Emmett Till’s Glass-Top Casket" (2010)
• James Emanuel's "Emmett Till" (1963)
• Vievee Francis's "Emmett, I Said Wait" (2003)
• Mary Gilliam's "Little Boy from Chicago" (1955)
• Nikki Giovanni's "A Civil Rights Journey"    
• Langston Hughes's "Mississippi—1955"
• Langston Hughes's "The Money Mississippi Blues"
• Douglas Kearney's "Tallahatchie Lullaby, Baby" (2009)
• Philip C. Kolin's Emmett Till in Different States (2015)
• Rickey Laurentiis's "Ghazal for Emmett Till" (2015)
• Audre Lorde's "Afterimages"
• Eve Merriam's "Money, Mississippi" (1956)
• Martha Millet's "Emmett Louis Till (1941 - 1955)" (1955)
• Jeanne Miller's "Can I Write of Flowers" (2001)
• Marilyn Nelson's A Wreath for Emmett Till (2005)
• Mary Parks's "For Emmett Till" (1955)
• Sterling Plumpp's "Unremembered" (1997)
• Roger Reeves's "The Mare of Money" (2008)
• Julius E. Thompson's "Till" (1977)
• Anthony Walton's "The Lovesong of Emmett Till" (1996)
• Jerry W. Ward, Jr.'s "Don't Be Fourteen (in Mississippi)"
• Ricardo Weeks's "Song for Emmett Till's Mother" (1955)
• Ricardo Weeks's "Too Tight" (1955)
• Al Young's "The Emmett Till Blues" (2008)

-----
Note: For several items on this list, I'm indebted to Christopher Metress's annotated bibliography "Literary Representations of the Lynching of Emmett Till" in the collection Emmett Till in Literary Memory and Imagination (2008) edited by Harriet Pollack and Metress.


Related:
A short checklist of African American poets on artworks & artists 
15 Malcolm X Poems by Poets of the Black Arts Era
10 John Coltrane Poems by Poets of the Black Arts Era  
Rap Music & Slavery References: A Partial List 

No comments: