Program Title

African-American Poetry
Provider Name
David Mills
David Mills

Astoria , NY 11105

Program Description
From the enslaved, 18th-century poet Phillis Wheatly (the first African-American to publish a book) to Spoken Word; from sonnets to rappers; from the 1920s Harlem Renaissance to the 1960s Black Arts Movement, African-American poetry has had a long, dynamic history. In this high-school assembly, Mr. Mills would discuss that dynamism and history. Mr. Mills’ talk highlights the fact that Jupiter Hammon, the first published Negro poet, was enslaved on Long Island and how golden-age-era, alternative rap group Dela Soul also hail from Long Island. Mr. Mills would explain why Harlem Renaissance writers were the first African-American literary movement read by mainstream America. Additionally, Mr. Mills would point out African-American poets’ sometimes recurring themes and styles. We will also look at the occasional differences in subject matter and acclaim of African-American male poets (such as Langston Hughes) as opposed to African-American-women poets, (such as Anne Spencer). During the Civil Rights era and onward, more African-American women poets, such as Maya Angelou, Sonia Sanchez and Rita Dove received recognition. From the 1990s to the present, two other poetry movements, (the African-American-influenced Spoken Word, and the literary Cave Canem), have had a significant impact on contemporary, African-American poetry. Mr. Mills would discuss how Cave Canem has produced Pulitzer Prize and Macarthur-Genius award winners, (such as Natasha Tretheway and Terrance Hayes); and how African-American Spoken-Word artists, (such as Dana Bryant and Long Islander Kayo), made performance poetry as relevant as published poetry and have recorded albums and acted on Broadway and TV. Mr. Mills would discuss the differences and similarities between these two contemporary movements, while playing audio and video clips, so students and teachers could hear and see various African-American poets. Lastly, Mr. Mills would pinpoint the relationship between rap and poetry. This talk is presented by award-winning writer and lecturer David Mills, who lived as writer-in-residence in Langston Hughes’ landmark home and who combines facts with fun ways of thinking about poetry. Topics such as African-American poetry and history, creativity and gender equity are touched upon.

Poetry, Literature ,

Additional Resources 
There are no evaluations available for this program.

Program Recommendations
9,10,11,12,Professional Development

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Arts Standards

Other Standards 

Curriculum Connections 
English Language Arts , Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity , ,

Culturally Responsive 

Cost Single: $900
Cost Multiple: $750

60 minutes