The Heritage Series of Black Poetry, 1962–1975: A Research Compendium (Hardback) book cover

The Heritage Series of Black Poetry, 1962–1975

A Research Compendium

By Paul Breman

Edited by Lauri Ramey

© 2008 – Routledge

344 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780754657828
pub: 2008-03-26

About the Book

In 1962, the Heritage Series of Black Poetry, founded and edited by Paul Breman, published Robert Hayden's A Ballad of Remembrance. By 1975, the Series had published 27 volumes by some of the twentieth-century's most important and influential poets. As elaborated in Lauri Ramey's extensive scholarly introduction, this innovative volume has dual purposes: To provide primary sources that recover the history and legacy of this groundbreaking publishing venture, and to serve as a research companion for scholars working on the Series and on twentieth-century black poetry. Never-before-published primary materials include Paul Breman's memoir, retrospectives by several of the poets published in the Series, a photo-documentary of W.E.B. Du Bois's 1958 visit to The Netherlands, poems by poets represented in the Series, and scholarly essays. Also included are bibliographies of the Heritage poets and of the Heritage Press Archives at the Chicago Public Library. This reference work is an essential resource for scholars working in the fields of black poetry, transatlantic studies, and twentieth-century book history.


'A rich and revelatory portrait of one of the most extraordinary publishing ventures in the history of African diasporic literature. To read this research compendium is to revise the map of 1960s black poetry, to sense the submarine links among writers across the Atlantic and across generations. With its inclusion of Harlem Renaissance forerunners as well as mid-century modernists and Black Arts experimentalists, the Heritage Series' visionary company forces us to recalibrate our understanding of the politics of poetic innovation.' Brent Hayes Edwards, Columbia University, and author of The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (2003) ’Anyone seeking to understand black poets and their work will want to consult this volume. Highly recommended.’ Choice ’… this volume is a means for accessing a stream of poetry that has been undervalued and might not otherwise have come into publication at all, and then might have been lost altogether. The first phase of the recovery of these innovative voices has been solidly made, and it remains for scholars, students, and readers to follow in the path of this vanguard compendium, searching out and exploring the full complement of the writings of these challenging and rewarding poets.’ Callaloo ’This anthology celebrates the Heritage Series of Black Poetry, which was founded and edited by Paul Breman and which published a total of 27 volumes of poetry between 1962 and 1975. Taken together, these publications comprise an impressive and important body of work.’ Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World

Table of Contents

Contents: The Heritage Series: an introduction, Lauri Ramey; Essays: 'The time of the whirlwind and the fire': Dudley Randall, the Heritage series and the Broadside Press connection, Melba Joyce Boyd; Whose images? Waring Cuney and the Harlem Renaissance idea of the poet's work, Lorenzo Thomas; Bardic memory and witness in the poetry of Samuel Allen, Edward A. Scott; Russell Atkins: 'Heretofore', Aldon Lynn Nielsen; Clarence Major and Mark Twain abroad, Linda F. Selzer; Spiritual witness in the poetry of Dolores Kendrick, Joanne V. Gabbin; Audre Lord: the voice of multiple consciousness, Margaret Kissam Morris; Ray Durem: take no prisoners, Lauri Ramey; Owen Vincent Dodson: faith and sorrow; sorrow and faith, Inga R. Ivory; Calvin C. Hernton: portrait of a poet, Lauri Ramey; Contributors of essays. Memoirs and Interviews: The Heritage series: a memoir (excerpts), Paul Breman; Paul Bremen's Heritage series of Black poetry, Clarence Major; Poetry and the Heritage series, Sonia Sanchez; Reflections on the Heritage series, Dolores Kendrick; Heritage and 'Black' poetry in the 1970s, Amon Saba Saakana; Paul Breman and Black poetry, Samuel Allen; Ebele Oseye as poet, Earl McKenzie; The responsibility and power of art, Ebele Oseye/Ellease Southerland; 'Bout me, 'bout you, 'bout us (excerpts), Ron Fair; The comic vision of Robert Hayden: a brief remembrance, Fred M. Fetrow; Memories of my father, Ray Durem, Vida Boyd Durem; W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois in the Netherlands, 1958, Marc Breman. Statements on Poetry and Poetics: Statement, Ray Durem; Statement, Calvin C. Hernton; Statement, Audre Lorde; Statement, Conrad Kent Rivers; Statement, James W. Thompson; Introduction: The Wright Poems by Conrad Kent Rivers, Ron Fair; On Negritude, Lloyd Addison; First editorial as editor of The New African (excerpt), Mukhtarr Mustapha. Poems: This because, A countless accounting, Lloyd Addison; There are no tears, The lingering doubt, Samuel Allen; To be whole again, Nkemka Asika (Frank John); At night keep still, Ventilating day at the mall down by the lake, Threnodic phantasies for example, Russell Atkins; Variations for di prima, Harold Carrington; Lil and Joe, Long gone, My prayer, Nineteen-twenty-nine, Picture, Carry me back, Waring Cuney; About Maurice, To Maurice, A dun, Pedagogy, Blues, blues, Married woman, Compensation, Caution, Pretty Ann, A decoration for the president, Ray Durem; Pausing, Ron Fair; The red crab gang 3, The red crab gang 15, Ohio listening, Calvin C. Hernton; Keep on, Frank John (Nkemka Asika); The daily grind, Fenton Johnson; Intermezzo, My mother listens to Cavalleria Rusticana, The cleaning woman, Hattie Elder, Sisters before the rain (for Mary Frances Dagostino), Dolores Kendrick; Martha, Audre Lorde; My corner, Patience, Night driving and daydreaming, Wednesday or Saturday, Three, Clarence Major; The job, Willard Moore; Statement, Ants, Violet crows, 5/6/4/3/4, Mukhtarr Mustapha; Meru, Night in Nigeria, Process, One of these mornings, Ebele Oseye/Ellease Southerland; Black all day, Raymond Patterson; The profile on the pillow, Dudley Randall; Night letter from Paris, Conrad Kent Rivers; An image of you, Amon Saba Saakana. Bibliography of Heritage series poets; The Heritage Press archives; Index.

About the Author/Editor

Lauri Ramey is Professor of Creative Writing and English, and Director, Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics at California State University, Los Angeles, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature