Black Moods: Collected Poems

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University of Illinois Press, 2002 - Poetry - 275 pages
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Black Moods collects for the first time all of Frank Marshall Davis's extant published poems as well as his known previously unpublished work.
Cogently framed by John Edgar Tidwell's insightful introduction, this volume recovers the rich variety of Davis's poetic expression, much of it informed by his political convictions and by his multifaceted work as a journalist. His early work helped promote Chicago as a site of the New Negro Renaissance in the 1930s; late in his career the Black Arts Movement welcomed him as "the long lost father of modern Black poetry." Between these two signposts, Davis engaged in a tireless struggle for social, intellectual, political, and aesthetic freedom, lending his considerable energies and intelligence to the fight against racial segregation, anti-Semitism, labor exploitation, and other injustices.
Tidwell examines both Davis's poetry and his politics, presenting a subtle portrait of a complex writer devoted to exposing discriminatory practices and reaffirming the humanity of the common people. From sharp-edged sketches of Southside Chicago's urban landscape to the complicated bright prismatic world that lay beneath Hawaii's placid surface of beachfront hotels, bikinis, and beach bums, Davis's muscular poems blend social, cultural, and political concerns--always shaped by his promise to "try to be as direct as good blues." His jazz poetry and love poems offer a lyrical counterpoint to his realistic and satirical verse focusing on urban life, race pride, and fierce social consciousness.
A varied and valuable collection, Black Moods represents the recovery of a powerful and distinctive voice and a marvelous enrichment of African American poetry.
 

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Contents

Acknowledgments
xv
Weaving Jagged Words into Song
xxi
Note on the Text Ixvii
lxvii
Finding
39
Ebony under Granite
49
Am the American Negro 1937
57
Poems 1948
99
Section III
145
Lorna
215
Alma
216
Frances
217
Winnie
218
Blondie
219
Madeline
220
Charity
221
Rose
222

Social Verse
169
Jazz Poems
188
Hawaii This Is Paradise
195
Moonlight at Kahana Bay
208
Tale of Two Dogs
209
Pacific Invasion
210
37 Portraits
211
Anne
212
Connie
213
Mrs
214
Arline
223
Hilda
224
Patty
225
Marjorie
226
Jessica
227
Lyrics of Love
230
Appendix
241
Notes to the Poems
249
Index of Titles
273
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About the author (2002)

Davis was an editor, reporter, columnist, and critic.

John Edgar Tidwell is an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas.

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