On African American Poetry

This collection captures the work of three pivotal moments in the history of African American poetry. The voices in these poems mark a range of vision and style that can give a sense, however brief, of how the tradition has evolved.

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Featured Podcasts

Episode 5: Cane Toomer

Jean Toomer (1894–1967) was a key figure of the Harlem Renaissance. His work addresses both sides of The Great Migration: the problematic longing for life in the South, the energy (and injustices) of life in the North. In 2019, Cane became available in the public domain. To commemorate the occasion, Mouse will publish this landmark work in three installments. Volume 1 addresses Toomer’s imagination of the South. It is a fragmentary, hallucinatory, and lyrical, making it a key example of American Modernism.


Episode 6: Selected Poems-Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley (1753–1784) was the first African-American female poet ever to be published. With the publication of Poems on Various Subjects in 1773, she came to be regarded as one of the most famous Africans in the world. Though some of her poems about slavery may be difficult for a contemporary audience to comprehend, her work occupies an integral position in the pantheon of black American writing.