Article

The Fight and the Fiddle in Twentieth-Century African American Poetry

Karen Jackson Ford

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398779
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195398779.013.0014

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Fight and the Fiddle in Twentieth-Century African American Poetry

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This article focuses on the history of African American poetry. It shows that the tensions between traditional and alternative forms do not represent mutually exclusive political and aesthetic commitments but rather the key defining dialectic of black poetry in the United States. The progress of African American poetry is not strictly linear. Its free-styling motion has made a circle of words that continually surpass the boundaries that do violence to poetic form and cultural identity. It also reveals what one learns from “reading the poetry”: that the poems have known this all along.

Keywords: black poetry; dialectic; African American poetry

Article.  18139 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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