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The Lyrics Of Lowly Life [Paperback]

By Dunbar (Author)
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Item Number 72398  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7" Width: 5.03" Height: 0.67"
Weight:   0.43 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2004
ISBN  0806509228  
EAN  9780806509228  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote some of the most beautiful and moving American poetry of his time. The son of an escaped slave, he was raised in poverty, and yet he and his mother shared a love of literature that would become the seeds of Dunbar's prolific writing career. In all, he published twenty-two books, including his two most famous poetry collections, Oak and Ivy Poems and Lyrics of Lowly Life. This brand new edition of Lyrics of Lowly Life will being the poems of this talented writer to a whole new generation.

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More About Dunbar

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Joyce Dunbar is a widely respected author of more than fifty books for children. Her "Mouse and Mole" series has been very popularly adapted for television and her lyrical re-telling of the Nativity story, This is the Star, received widespread critical acclaim.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A compelling volume from an important American poet  Oct 27, 2001
"Lyrics of Lowly Life," by Paul Laurence Dunbar, was first published in 1896. It was a milestone in the too-short life of Dunbar (1872-1906), a pioneering figure in African-American literature. In his introduction to "Lyrics," William Dean Howells notes that Dunbar portrays African-Americans "with humor, with sympathy, and yet with what the reader must instinctively feel to be entire truthfulness."

Dunbar's poetry generally falls into two groups: those written in a "high" literary English, and those which reproduce American vernacular speech (the "dialect pieces," as Howells calls them). Dunbar's gift is that he excels in both modes. He is adept at using a number of different meter and rhyme schemes; the best of his poems achieve a musicality and technical proficiency that compare favorably with the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe.

Yes, some of his poems seem quite dated today. They are often excessively sentimental and sometimes tediously conventional. But "Lyrics" is also full of some really outstanding, thought-provoking pieces. Consider "Frederick Douglass," a stirring tribute to the great African-American writer and activist; Dunbar follows 9 stanzas of iambic pentameter in an ABABCC rhyme scheme with a concluding ABABCCDD stanza. (Indeed, I find half the fun of reading Dunbar to be analyzing his diverse poetic structures.)

In poems like "Song" and "Ode to Ethiopia," Dunbar shows a pride in the African-American people. And although some poems seem to present a romantic, sentimental view of slavery, consider the brilliant "An Ante-Bellum Sermon": this "dialect" poem satirically demonstrates how Black slave preachers managed to subvert the racist biblical interpretations of the slavemasters.

Other outstanding selections include "Religion," which envisions a humanistic faith; "The Spellin'-Bee," a longer narrative poem of small-town life; "The Colored Soldiers," a tribute to the "gallant colored soldiers / Who fought for Uncle Sam," and "When de Co'n Pone's Hot," a celebration of traditional soul food.

Dunbar's poetry can be seen as a forerunner for the work of such American poets as Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks. And for a fascinating complement to Dunbar's poetry, read the poetry of his American contemporary, Stephen Crane (1871-1900); "The Complete Poems of Stephen Crane" have been edited by Joseph Katz. To sum up, Dunbar is a poet whose life overlapped the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but I believe that he has something to say for contemporary readers and scholars.

We Wear The Mask...  Jul 9, 2001
I was first introduced to the works of this remarkable poet in my American Literature high school class . My favorite and first Paul Laurence Dunbar poem is We Wear the Mask, and I have found that the rest of his poetry is just as honest and as well as heartbreaking. I would recommend this book of poetry to anyone because it does not just show the tragedy of slavery and effects on the soul of racism, but also represents the feelings of ostracism found anywhere.

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