Paul Laurence Dunbar : Poems

    Paul Laurence Dunbar : Poems icon

    Paul Laurence Dunbar : Poems

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    This is the definitive edition of America's first African American poet's work, as it brings together all of Dunbar's poems and well worth a read.

    Paul Laurence Dunbar was an African-American writer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who wrote verse and short stories, many of which were written in black dialect despite the fact that he felt the marketability of dialect poetry was demeaning. He was one of the first black writers to attempt to make an living from his writing, and certainly one of the first to gain national prominence.

    In 1893 Dunbar published his first volume of poetry, Oak and Ivy, on the press of the Church of the Brethren. That same year he also attended the World's Columbian Exposition, where he sold copies of his book and gained the patronage of Frederick Douglass and other influential African Americans.

    Dunbar’s first largely successful publication was a collection of poems entitled Majors and Minors (1985). This collection included verse written in standard American English (“majors”) and in southern black dialect (“minors”).

    Dunbar published thirteen volumes of poetry including Oak and Ivy (1893), Majors and Minors (1895), Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896), Lyrics of the Hearthside (1899), Poems of Cabin and Field (1899), Candle-Lightin’ Time (1901), Lyrics of Love and Laughter (1903), When Malindy Sings (1903), Li’l Gal (1904), Howdy, Honey, Howdy (1905), Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow (1905), Joggin' Erlong (1906) and Chrismas is a-comin' (1905)

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