Essays on poetry

In addition to Brooks and Walker, Robert Hayden and Melvin Tolson provide glimpses of protest in their poetry of the 1940s through the 1960s. Hayden’s signature poem, “ Middle Passage ,” looks backward in its protest to the point of African enslavement in the New World. In a beautifully crafted poem of multiple voices, Hayden explores what the transportation of black bodies meant to the transporters as well as to those enslaved. For the captives, the Middle Passage was a “Voyage through death/ to life upon these shores,” though the quality of that life is dramatically diminished. In Harlem Gallery (1965), Tolson paints a panorama of Harlem and its elusive “Negro” inhabitants: “The Negro is a dish in the white man’s kitchen/ . . . a dish nobody knows.” 16

Essays on poetry

essays on poetry

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