Archive | Close Reading

Seeing History in Harper’s “American History”

Michael S. Harper, Image Source: africanamerianpoetry.orgMichael S. Harper’s poem “American History” is a haunting nine line poem. The poem’s use of concrete images coupled with it’s compact brevity works to speak not only to America’s racist past, but of also to the treatment of history in America. The poem opens with reference to the Baptist […]

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“Blonde White Women” – Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith’s poem, “Blond White Women”, resonates with me as I, too, always admired blond little girls and women growing up. I grew up in the 80s and all I saw on my television screens were blonde images of beauty. Smith’s poem seems to move towards truth and clarity, and she uses great tempo and […]

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Black Boy Joy: 9780593379936 | Books

Sticky Labels

Ellen Gwin Dr. Anton Vander Zee American Poetry 18 October 2022 Sticky Labels      Danez Smith, author of Don’t Call us Dead (2017), Boy (2014) and the chapbook hands on ya knees (2013), is an African American writer from St. Paul, Minnesota. They are a founding member of the Dark Noise Collective, a multi-genre, […]

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The many palimpsests of “Tu Do Street”

In “Black and Blues Configurations,” Walton Muyumba argues that Yusef Komunyakaa’s poem “Tu Do Street” replaces notions of “oppositions” and “hierarchical arrangements” common within Black poetry at the time with a “palimpsest,” a pair or group of scenes or realities overlaid one on top of the other so that each one is extant at the […]

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Restless Indivisibility

Language poetry to me felt more like a post-modern philosophy of language, a constant experiment, rather than poetry as I normally understand it or try to grasp. I feel like this writing really requires time to get used to reading just because it is so different than what people normally read. As soon as one […]

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Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil, 1954.

Apathetic Obsession

Ellen Gwin Dr. Anton Vander Zee American Poetry 4 October 2022 Apathetic Obsession     Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil, 1954. Estate of Elizabeth Bishop      Elizabeth Bishop has been described as someone who did not write prolifically but rather spent her time polishing her work (Elizabeth Bishop). This type of writing fits in perfectly with […]

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