Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Reginald Flood's Frederick Douglass Poetic Contributions

I was recently re-reading Reginald Flood's volume Coffle  (2012) as part of a project that I was doing concerning representations of black history, enslavement, and struggles for liberation in poetry. Flood has several poems on the topic in his book. As I've noted before, his Frederick Douglass poems are particularly notable.

Flood's poems -- "Douglass in London 1854," "Douglass in London 1861," and "Douglass in Cedar Hill" -- are written from Douglass's first-person perspective and reveal him reflecting on his days in bondage as well as on subjects of his day. Flood's Douglass even takes a few swipes at Henry Box Brown.   

I was reading Flood as part of a group of poets who've written about Douglass. Here's what I covered:
• "Frederick Douglass" by Sam Cornish
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

Flood makes useful and unique contributions by presenting Douglass in London, where he traveled and spoke. Flood's series of poem rightly situate Douglass within "the Black Atlantic," so to speak. Just as important, he gives us more poetic treatments on this really vital historical figure and artistic muse. 

Poet Reginald Flood enters the realm of Douglass poems
Evie Shockley and This Douglass Poetry Discourse 

No comments: