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Selected Poems of Calvin C. Hernton (Hardback)

P&S History > Humanities > Poetry

Imprint: Wesleyan University Press
Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780819500359
Published: 25th April 2024
Casemate UK Academic



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The definitive guide to a major African American poet.


This volume promises to be the definitive guide to Calvin C. Hernton's unparalleled poetic career, re-introducing readers to a major voice in American poetry. Hernton was a cofounder of the Umbra Poets Workshop; a participant in the Black Arts Movement, R. D. Laing's Kingsley Hall, and the Antiuniversity of London; and a teacher at Oberlin College who counted amongst his friends bell hooks, Toni Morrison, and Odetta. As a pioneer in the field of Black Studies, Hernton developed a theoretical and practical pedagogy with lasting impact on generations of students. He may be best known as an anti-sexist sociologist, following in the footsteps of W.E.B. Du Bois, but Hernton viewed himself, above all, as a poet. This volume includes a generous selection of Hernton's previously published poems, from classics like the often anthologized "The Distant Drum" to the visionary epic The Coming of Chronos to the House of Nightsong, reprinted in full for the first time since 1964, alongside uncollected and unpublished material from the Calvin C. Hernton papers at Ohio University, a new critical introduction, and detailed notes, chronology, and bibliography.


[sample poem]


The Distant Drum


I am not a metaphor or symbol.

This you hear is not the wind in the trees.

Nor a cat being maimed in the street.

I am being maimed in the street

It is I who weep, laugh, feel pain or joy.

Speak this because I exist.

This is my voice

These words are my words, my mouth

Speaks them, my hand writes.

I am a poet.

It is my fist you hear beating

Against your ear.

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