250 years of African American poetry

Listen 49:46
Poet Kevin Young and his anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song

(photo credit, Melanie Dunea)

Poet KEVIN YOUNG joins us to discuss his new anthology, African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song. The nearly 1000-page collection starts with a poem from Phillis Wheatley, the first Black writer to publish in the United States, and highlights both well-known and lesser-known Black poets over the centuries – through slavery, emancipation, the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances, Jim Crow and into the 21st century. Young, who is the incoming new director of the National Museum of African American History, will read some of his poetry and from the anthology and talk about how poems were a form of protest for Black Americans.  We’ll also hear readings from TRACY K. SMITH, MAJOR JACKSON and GREGORY PARDLO, three poets included in the collection.

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