Category: poetry

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Mediated Voices in Longfellow’s “Poems on Slavery”

Last semester, I added selections from Philip Freneau and Henry Wadsworth Longefellow to my syllabus. We only read about 3-4 poems from each author and explored them in relation to the trope of the “Vanishing American,” defining American, and the issue of slavery. As I do with most classes, I assign questions to small groups of students, 2-3 typically, give them time to answer … Read More Mediated Voices in Longfellow’s “Poems on Slavery”

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Mary Rowlandson and Louise Erdrich’s “Captivity”

I always enjoy teaching Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative for a myriad of reasons. It presents students with an early example of that distinctly American genre the captivity narrative, it highlights the role of women in colonial America, it illuminates the colonists’ feelings towards Native Americans, and it serves as a text that showcases Puritan thought during the late 1600s. Today, I want to take the … Read More Mary Rowlandson and Louise Erdrich’s “Captivity”

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Robert Hayden’s “A Letter From Phillis Wheatley, London 1773”

As I got ready to teach Phillis Wheatley recently, I decided to incorporate Robert Hayden’s “A Letter from Phillis Wheatley London, 1773” which originally appeared in his 1978 collection American Journal. Of course, during our discussions, we related Hayden’s poem to Wheatley, but we also thought about other connections that could be made between “A Letter from Phillis Wheatley” and other texts we have … Read More Robert Hayden’s “A Letter From Phillis Wheatley, London 1773”

Interview with Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith on “The Land Baron’s Sun”

Last post, I wrote about Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s The Land Baron’s Sun. Today, I am sharing a recent interview I conducted with Smith. In the video above, Smith talks more about his grandfather and reads two poems from The Land Baron’s Sun. Leave a comment below by 7:00 AM CST on December 15 to be entered for a chance to win an autographed copy of … Read More Interview with Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith on “The Land Baron’s Sun”

Paul Laurence Dunbar NEH Summer Institute

Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Grave at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton For the past three weeks, I have had the privilege of taking part in an NEH Summer Institute entitled “Paul Laurence Dunbar & American Literary History.” Before beginning the institute, my only knowledge of Dunbar came from the Norton Anthology of African American Literature and a couple of other sources. There, all that appears from … Read More Paul Laurence Dunbar NEH Summer Institute