Thursday, May 17, 2012

Notes on a Timeline of African American Poetry

On Wednesday, May 9, I was at the Brooklyn Museum and came across a panel that identified "Important Dates and Dynasties in Islamic History." The panel led me to wonder what a similar listing of dates related to African American poetry might look like. By the time I left the museum, I had sketched out 10 dates between 1965 - 1976, which are dates associated with the black arts era, and I published the post on Thursday.

[A Timeline of African American Poetry]

Over the course of the next few days, I posted entries pinpointing dates in literary history related to black poetry. 20 moments here, 15 moments there, 12 here, and so forth. I had a good time running my mind along various events and key publication dates in the history or histories of poetry. I also enjoyed the feeling today of assembling a full timeline (still a work in progress) of poetry, 1854 - 2012.

For several months now, I've had conversations with my younger brother Kenton, who runs a site rimarily focused on the histories of novels, about ways of making information related to African American literature more easily available online and through our blogging activities. The development of this timeline constitutes one approach for helping us achieve that task.   

There are, no doubt, omissions in my timeline, which only includes 100 data points. Also, since I've done more extensive work  related to the black arts era and contemporary poetry, I was more inclined to identify notable moments during those times periods. In the future, however, I'll include more dates and also provide commentary on some of the factors that assisted in shaping the histories of defining moments in African American poetry. 

Dates of Importance
• May17: A Timeline of African American Poetry 
• May16:  10 Moments, 1945 - 1966
• May 16: 10 Moments, 1854-1919
• May 14:  20 Moments, 2002 - 2012
• May 14: 15 Moments, 1993 - 2002
• May 13:  8 Moments, 1959 - 1968
• May 12:  12 Moments, 1976 - 1992
• May 11:  15 Moments, 1918 - 1950
• May 10: 10 Moments, 1965 - 1976

• May 16: Locating the Initial Publication Date of Robert Hayden's "Middle Passage"
• May 14: Notes on Blogging a Chronology of African American Poetry

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