Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections ProQuest Information and Learning web site. This will open in a new browser window.

About Twentieth-Century African American Poetry


Twentieth-Century African American Poetry is a unparalleled collection of poetry written by the most important and influential African American poets of the twentieth century. Coverage begins with the key writers of the early decades (James Weldon Johnson, Georgia Douglas Camp Johnson, Claude McKay), continues with major figures of the Harlem Renaissance (Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Arna Bontemps and Sterling Brown) and the Black Arts movement of the 1960s (Imamu Amiri Baraka, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Sonia Sanchez), and concludes with a considerable body of writing of the 1980s and 1990s, including major figures such as Ai, Rita Dove and Yusef Komunyakaa alongside young writers who have gained recognition through national poetry awards or inclusion within leading print anthologies.

Editorial Policy

In selecting poets for inclusion, the aim has been to include a broad representative collection that reflects the diversity of modern African American literary traditions, including, subject to the granting of electronic rights by the print publishers, major figures alongside historically important writers and younger emergent poets.

The complete text of each poem has been included, and any integral textual images and illustrations have been scanned. Additional information relating directly to the poetry, such as prefaces or introductions, has been keyed. Any prose sections of the volumes that are significant to the works have also been included.

The Editions

Twentieth-Century African American Poetry aims to include as full a collection of the published works of each poet as possible. When available, a poet's collected edition has been keyed. Exceptions are for poets whose collected editions are not yet in print or complete. In most cases, the editions have been provided by the publishers. In general, only a single version of each poem has been included, and when available, the most recent and complete version of each poem has been keyed. As well, every poem has been indexed within its edition's table of contents. Where ProQuest has not secured electronic rights to publish the full text of an individual poem or series of poems within its respective edition, ProQuest has provided a statement to this effect where the full text of these poems would normally be displayed.

The Texts

The entire text of each poem has been included. Any accompanying text forming an integral part of the poetry, such as dedications, notes, acknowledgments, prefaces, introductions, and epigraphs, is generally included, provided ProQuest has secured electronic rights for the material. Indexes of titles and first lines have been excluded.

Twentieth-Century African American Poetry enjoys the active support of the poets involved, their estates, literary agents, and publishers. ProQuest protects the rights and integrity of the poets and their work on the Internet.