‘Trapped in a desert’

Fire and soul in African American poetry
by
May 2021, no. 431
Buy this book

African American Poetry: 250 years of struggle and song by edited by Kevin Young

Library of America, US$45 hb, 1,150 pp

‘Trapped in a desert’

Fire and soul in African American poetry
by
May 2021, no. 431

The Library of America has published massive anthologies of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American poetry that include work from multiple racial and ethnic backgrounds, so why now another large book devoted exclusively to African Americans? Because it needs to be said and said again just how profoundly American this poetry is, how it enriches culture and should not be ignored among the more conventionally canonised. The fact that this book appeared in 2020, the year when Black Lives Matter protests went global, only underlines its importance as a historical marker. Poetry by Black Americans is not only unignorable but central to American literary life. Reading African American Poetry: 250 years of struggle and song may change your way of reading poetry, particularly modern poetry. It is that rare thing among anthologies, a moving book, enlivened by fire and soul.

David Mason reviews 'African American Poetry: 250 years of struggle and song' edited by Kevin Young

African American Poetry: 250 years of struggle and song

by edited by Kevin Young

Library of America, US$45 hb, 1,150 pp

Buy this book

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.