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I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry

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From the first known African American poet, Lucy Terry, to recent poet laureate Rita Dove, I, TOO, SING AMERICA captures the enormous talent and passion of black writers. This powerful and diverse, this unique collection spans three centuries of poetry in America as poets bare their souls, speak their minds, trace their roots, and proclaim their dreams in the thirty-six po From the first known African American poet, Lucy Terry, to recent poet laureate Rita Dove, I, TOO, SING AMERICA captures the enormous talent and passion of black writers. This powerful and diverse, this unique collection spans three centuries of poetry in America as poets bare their souls, speak their minds, trace their roots, and proclaim their dreams in the thirty-six poems compiled here. The voices of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, W. E. B. Dubois, and Gwendolyn Brooks, among others, create an energetic blend of tone and tempo, ardor and awe. From lamentations to celebrations, these poems reveal the ironies of black America, juxtaposing themes of resistance and reconciliation, hope and despair. Each poem is further illuminated with notes, a brief biography of the poet, and stunning visual interpretations. Clinton and Alcorn have created a stirring tribute to these great poets, as well as a remarkable volume that will move any reader.


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From the first known African American poet, Lucy Terry, to recent poet laureate Rita Dove, I, TOO, SING AMERICA captures the enormous talent and passion of black writers. This powerful and diverse, this unique collection spans three centuries of poetry in America as poets bare their souls, speak their minds, trace their roots, and proclaim their dreams in the thirty-six po From the first known African American poet, Lucy Terry, to recent poet laureate Rita Dove, I, TOO, SING AMERICA captures the enormous talent and passion of black writers. This powerful and diverse, this unique collection spans three centuries of poetry in America as poets bare their souls, speak their minds, trace their roots, and proclaim their dreams in the thirty-six poems compiled here. The voices of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, W. E. B. Dubois, and Gwendolyn Brooks, among others, create an energetic blend of tone and tempo, ardor and awe. From lamentations to celebrations, these poems reveal the ironies of black America, juxtaposing themes of resistance and reconciliation, hope and despair. Each poem is further illuminated with notes, a brief biography of the poet, and stunning visual interpretations. Clinton and Alcorn have created a stirring tribute to these great poets, as well as a remarkable volume that will move any reader.

30 review for I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Piazza

    As a future teacher, I find this book to be an excellent collection of poetry, and a great example of exposure to African American poetry. There are 35 poems, some authors I have heard quite often in the past and most I have not. I find this collection of poems to be a direct source of history and with incredible value to my students not only because of the ways the words are expressed, but because of the idea that African Americans were so limited to what they were allowed to write down, especi As a future teacher, I find this book to be an excellent collection of poetry, and a great example of exposure to African American poetry. There are 35 poems, some authors I have heard quite often in the past and most I have not. I find this collection of poems to be a direct source of history and with incredible value to my students not only because of the ways the words are expressed, but because of the idea that African Americans were so limited to what they were allowed to write down, especially poetry. These voices survived history against all odds, and I am forever grateful that they have. The imagery will help my students to remain engaged as well, they are beautiful depictions of all different types of artworks.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ammie

    Wonderful exposure to new poets and poetry, but again, aimed at a younger audience than maybe it should be. I am hoping to find more "Black Joy" collections as, due to historical events, many poems by African Americans are sorrowful. Rightly so of course, but my girls long to read about the beauty and the joy of being strong and beautiful Black girls worthy of love and respect. Wonderful exposure to new poets and poetry, but again, aimed at a younger audience than maybe it should be. I am hoping to find more "Black Joy" collections as, due to historical events, many poems by African Americans are sorrowful. Rightly so of course, but my girls long to read about the beauty and the joy of being strong and beautiful Black girls worthy of love and respect.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fey Kanz

    An excellent introduction to African American Poets going back as early as 1730. Each poet has a bit of a write up on their life and a short analyzation of their poem that follows on the next page. The illustrations are beautiful and echo the feelings of the various poems. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in the history Black Writers in the USA. For myself, I found a couple of new to me writers that have caught my interest :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lois is behind her reviews at least a month

    I listened to this on hoopla and can not reccommend it highly enough. What a pleasure.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anya Marquardt

    Personally, I'm not sure if I'd teach this in my classroom. I feel like tossing all this poetry at my students may be detrimental. There are certain selections that I think would be good to use since there are some very iconic poems in here that I think all students should read, but there are some that I think will go over their heads and will exhaust them to the point where they won't want to read any further. Personally, I'm not sure if I'd teach this in my classroom. I feel like tossing all this poetry at my students may be detrimental. There are certain selections that I think would be good to use since there are some very iconic poems in here that I think all students should read, but there are some that I think will go over their heads and will exhaust them to the point where they won't want to read any further.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

    I, Too, Sing America is an excellent collection of African American poetry that would be a major benefit to any middle or high school class. I really appreciated how each section introduced a new author, mentioned how they interacted with other African American authors of their time period (this is mostly relevant to the more modern poets), and also talked about their influence during or after their lifetime. I think going in historical order, with the context of each poet and time period, reall I, Too, Sing America is an excellent collection of African American poetry that would be a major benefit to any middle or high school class. I really appreciated how each section introduced a new author, mentioned how they interacted with other African American authors of their time period (this is mostly relevant to the more modern poets), and also talked about their influence during or after their lifetime. I think going in historical order, with the context of each poet and time period, really can help a student understand how the African American experience evolved over the three centuries of US history. To add to this point, though the experience has evolved, this collection of poetry also highlights how much has not changed for African Americans in this country over the last three hundred years which is also very important for students to see and recognize. I also appreciated how this collection had a very good, and nearly even, ratio of male and female authors. Many poetry collections only focus on men and I think with African American authors in particular, the works of African American women tend to be more neglected than their counterparts when it comes to literary study. The illustrations for each poem were also very interesting and can absolutely spark deeper thoughts for a student as well if they were having trouble with a poem's meaning. I have always had a difficult time dissecting and analyzing poetry and I felt that the set up of this book and the context provided would be extremely helpful for me on a teaching level as I try to teach future students how to approach poetry analysis. I think that this would be a great addition to an 8th or 9th grade reading list. When I was in middle school, we had an entire unit on the Harlem Renaissance in my English class and I think that covering this book in a unit like that would not only be interesting but would also be great for students to see how African American poetry evolved up to, and past, the Harlem Renaissance. African American literary greatness definitely extends beyond the Harlem Renaissance and it's important to show various African American poets from across US history. A good amount of poets in the collection were Harlem Renaissance era poets and it will only benefit students to see how these poets carried the legacy of their poet forefathers and how these poets also influenced modern African American poets as well.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    This is one of the first collections of poetry I have read, though some of the poets and poems are already familiar, like W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, and Alice Walker. Though poetry is not my favorite, nor my strong suit, I think this is a great collection of African American poetry, ranging from the 1700's to the late 1900's. And along with the poems, the collection includes vivid illustrations side-by-side. As the illustrator puts it, the art is "a fitting h This is one of the first collections of poetry I have read, though some of the poets and poems are already familiar, like W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, and Alice Walker. Though poetry is not my favorite, nor my strong suit, I think this is a great collection of African American poetry, ranging from the 1700's to the late 1900's. And along with the poems, the collection includes vivid illustrations side-by-side. As the illustrator puts it, the art is "a fitting home for the vivid imaginations celebrated throughout the pages" (128). One of my favorites is "We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks. It is such a short poem, but there is so much content that readers can pull out of each line and phrase. And how many poems have a subtitle? I love that the rhyme scheme is set up like a Jazz song, and it addresses so many vices in society with only three word sentences. "We/left school. We/Lurk late" are such short sentences, but they have so much meaning packed into them. The speakers are school dropouts, probably only getting educated via street smarts, and now they stay out late. The audience would have a strong idea of what kind of things the speakers might get into. I think that this collection should be mandatory in all high school classrooms. The poems not only address history from minority communities, but they provide such a wide range of views, styles, and subject matter that students will have a wide range of exposure. There is also such a wide range of emotions in these poems from optimism to misery, to the grave discussions of someone's headstone. Students deserve to get a well rounded understanding of many of these historical events from beyond just their history textbooks and classrooms. I can imagine our classes endlessly discussing and analyzing specific word choices and emotions that they would have been missing from learning only the history. The English Classroom is supposed to dig deeper into the humanity and emotional standpoint of many of these moments in history for students to understand and build their empathy. This collection would give our class an opportunity to not only discuss the events in the book, but also to understand some major literary movements, such as the Harlem Renaissance and Jazz poetry, as well as exposing students to different vocabulary.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Erhart

    I enjoyed this poetry collection and think it would be an incredibly valuable addition to an English classroom. Included in the collection are a huge variety of talented poets, who have styles that range so students can experience many different types of poems. I love how the collection includes a biography of all of the poets as well so that students can go further in the connections they're making while reading to think about the poet's personal experiences. While I think that too much focus o I enjoyed this poetry collection and think it would be an incredibly valuable addition to an English classroom. Included in the collection are a huge variety of talented poets, who have styles that range so students can experience many different types of poems. I love how the collection includes a biography of all of the poets as well so that students can go further in the connections they're making while reading to think about the poet's personal experiences. While I think that too much focus on the biography of poets can sometimes distract people from the world encapsulated in the poems, it is important for students to learn about the African American poets in this collection who are often left out of discussions of poetry. I love that the collection is organized by the time period the poets are writing in, and shows the work of Black poets throughout time. I would love to teach this collection and then ask students to find and bring in a poem from a contemporary Black American poet, like Samiya Bashir or Robin Coste Lewis, as the collection ends in the 1990s. There are many important history lessons about the US to be learned from this collection, alongside taking in the beauty of the poems. I think you could use this collection with a huge range of grades. The way it is laid out, with the paintings as visual aids, would make it more accessible for young students who are maybe just beginning to read and engage with poetry. However, the poems in the collection are not just for children! I think students in later middle school and throughout high school could find even deeper meanings in the poems and build on their analyses of these works. I think that poetry is not taught as much as it should be in K-12 education and that often when it is, only a few poets are taught, most often Poe, Whitman, and Frost. I am a big poetry person, and while I see the value in those three poets, I never pick up their poems to read them nowadays! I think that one of the reasons students tend to struggle with poetry is because it is taught in a very dry way. This collection is not dry at all! Each poem and poet brings the reader into their personal world and emotions, and I think that students will respond to that authenticity.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kaila

    I, Too, Sing America is a brilliant collection of poetry written by African-American poets and writers from across history, including famous poets such as Langston Hughes, Phillis Wheatley, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, among many others. All of the poems selected by Catherine Clinton were excellent choices that really showcase not only the struggle that enslaved Africans went through and the struggle African-Americans go through, but also the creativity that Black people possess and how, through I, Too, Sing America is a brilliant collection of poetry written by African-American poets and writers from across history, including famous poets such as Langston Hughes, Phillis Wheatley, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, among many others. All of the poems selected by Catherine Clinton were excellent choices that really showcase not only the struggle that enslaved Africans went through and the struggle African-Americans go through, but also the creativity that Black people possess and how, through poetry, many Black people were and are able to have a voice. The inclusion of the illustrations from Stephen Alcorn also helped bring this book together because of the powerful and skillful visuals that helped bring the poems to life. I think that this book is perfect to teach in both a middle and high school setting, maybe a little more so for middle schoolers just because of the low level of difficulty that these poems are, but can still work in a high school classroom just as well. I would personally love to teach this book in my future classroom because it is a great text to teach when doing an African-American literature unit and/or a poetry unit with students. A lot of Black voices, from the mid 18th century to the mid 20th century, are represented in this collection, and all of these poems educate students on the struggles and tribulations that African-American people have gone through in America, despite being integral factors in the creation of this country. Along with the poetry are also brief descriptions of the poet/writer of of the poems, and these are just as important as the poems themselves because they, depending on what time period the poet was born and the specific problems that they had to face, will give better insight into what part of African-American history is being discussed in the poem, which will help the student get a better insight into what was occurring during that time period. This book was very enjoyable to read and the poems were great selections on Catherine Clinton's part. It is digestible, educational, as well as creative, and can hopefully pique students' interest in African-American poetry, or even African-American writing or poetry as a whole.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Kinch

    I think this is a wonderful collection of poems. Something that I’ve become aware of recently is how little my primary and secondary education exposed me to black writers. I, Too, Sing America is a powerful way to counteract that deficiency. The focus of this book on African American voices is sure to appeal to a young adult audience who may be just beginning to critically examine the issue of racism in this country. Where my early education failed, teaching this book would ensure that students I think this is a wonderful collection of poems. Something that I’ve become aware of recently is how little my primary and secondary education exposed me to black writers. I, Too, Sing America is a powerful way to counteract that deficiency. The focus of this book on African American voices is sure to appeal to a young adult audience who may be just beginning to critically examine the issue of racism in this country. Where my early education failed, teaching this book would ensure that students are aware of many important African American figures from the past and present – aside from the most famous ones we learn about in school. (And I’m not saying they shouldn’t be taught, I just think American education should broaden its teaching of black history to other, less talked about but still important historical figures.) In addition to the wide variety of black writers this book exposes readers to, the combination of short biographies, illustrations, and poetry make it a compelling piece of writing that is sure to grab students’ attention. To teach this book, I would want students to closely examine the poetry. I would ask them to pay careful attention to the literary devices the poets use, the emotions they evoke, and the arguments they make. It’s also important to consider these poems in relation to the events that were taking place during their conception; having mini-lessons on historical circumstances or having students research the time periods on their own using the biographies as a starting point would be great ways to get them thinking about what influenced these writers. Moreover, because this book provides just a sampling of the writers’ life and work, a culminating project in which students research a specific poet in depth would allow them to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for their work. Students could even be organized into groups based on the writer they choose after conducting research in order to create a presentation to teach their classmates about their findings.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Clackett

    I really enjoyed this collection of poems. I found all the poems to be inspiring and was captivated by reading poems that spanned three centuries of African history and culture. As a future teacher I appreciated the fact that each poem was accompanied by a small biography on the author. I think this would be extremely beneficial for students to read alongside the poems because it explains to students what that particular author went through in life, which helps put the students in a mindset that I really enjoyed this collection of poems. I found all the poems to be inspiring and was captivated by reading poems that spanned three centuries of African history and culture. As a future teacher I appreciated the fact that each poem was accompanied by a small biography on the author. I think this would be extremely beneficial for students to read alongside the poems because it explains to students what that particular author went through in life, which helps put the students in a mindset that will help them better understand how the author felt when they were writing the poem. I also thought having illustrations throughout the collection was another benefit for students readers. I think that it is important that both middle school and high school students read this collection of poems. It would help open the students eyes to how the African American community used to be treated and what they went through during three centuries of history. I think that this collection would be good for young readers because it is a short collection that contains background on the authors as well as illustrations that could help the audience understand the poems. These are important poems written by important African American authors. The students would be able to study important pieces of poetry and analyze them for both their historical importance and influence as well as analyze the way the poems were written. It would be beneficial for students to study this collection of poems.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Griffin Tokarski

    I love love loved this book! Poetry is such a personal experience and it is so intimate, and this collection has made black poetry so special. It is a collection of black voices throughout the years alongside beautiful illustrations and mini-biographies on each author. I have never encountered a poetry book quite like this but I believe that every poetry book should be set up like this. I really enjoyed learning about the author prior to reading his or her works makes the poetry experience more I love love loved this book! Poetry is such a personal experience and it is so intimate, and this collection has made black poetry so special. It is a collection of black voices throughout the years alongside beautiful illustrations and mini-biographies on each author. I have never encountered a poetry book quite like this but I believe that every poetry book should be set up like this. I really enjoyed learning about the author prior to reading his or her works makes the poetry experience more intimate. Learning about their experiences puts their words into context and forces the reader to understand where the poet is coming from. I especially loved Countee Cullens, Saturdays Child is so beautiful. It speaks to the black experience living in a black body and compares this life directly to living in a white body. It shows America through a black perspective and will break your heart and inspire you all at the same time. The book was so well done and is such a work of art! As far as teaching this book...I enjoyed the activity my professor had us do where we chose our favorite poem and read the poem out loud and speak about the author's bio a little bit. This book is quite eclectic but if we take our favorite poems and discuss the culture and the background that lead to this event then I think the kids will be able to walk away from this book with a meaningful lesson on the black experience. I also think that this book is important to teach in predominantly white school districts so then students can understand how the world is through another set of eyes.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Farren

    This book of poems celebrates many famous and not-so-famous poets that existed during the Civil Rights Movement through the Harlem Renaissance! Many of which, were prestigious professors and mentors - some even friends with one another and encouraged some of the authors in this book to publish their pieces! I didn't come across many of the poems in this book until I got to college. I believe this book of poems is appropriate to teach to a high school level. This book would definitely coincide we This book of poems celebrates many famous and not-so-famous poets that existed during the Civil Rights Movement through the Harlem Renaissance! Many of which, were prestigious professors and mentors - some even friends with one another and encouraged some of the authors in this book to publish their pieces! I didn't come across many of the poems in this book until I got to college. I believe this book of poems is appropriate to teach to a high school level. This book would definitely coincide well with students who are learning about the Civil Rights Movement, as well as Harlem Renaissance! As an educator, I would talk to the history teachers at school to figure out when they plan to teach The Civil Rights Movement and Harlem Renaissance. I would choose a portion of poems to teach to coincide with when the history teachers start talking about them. I feel doing so, will allow the students to be able to understand the emotions that were evoked, in order to create these remarkable poems. If they're learning about the history behind these era's as I introduce these pieces, they will make a lot more sense to the students. I could also create an extra credit opportunity, where I create a poetry café event in the library of the school. I would ask the students to create a poem of their own that celebrates and sheds light upon any kind of tragic event, where they found people came out triumphant. If they present their poems, they will get extra credit!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kailey Valenti

    This collection will be a valuable resource when I become a teacher. I could definitely see myself referring back to this collection to select poems to read with my class. I could maybe teach them all together and do an entire unit on poetry written by Black poets. I would maybe pair some of these poems with March: Book Three, Home by Toni Morrison, or Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. However, I'm not sure if this book would be necessary for the students to have a copy of, as these poe This collection will be a valuable resource when I become a teacher. I could definitely see myself referring back to this collection to select poems to read with my class. I could maybe teach them all together and do an entire unit on poetry written by Black poets. I would maybe pair some of these poems with March: Book Three, Home by Toni Morrison, or Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. However, I'm not sure if this book would be necessary for the students to have a copy of, as these poems and information about each poet are widely available online. I do like the artwork a lot, and I feel like it could be interesting to use them as visual aides while reading the poems, so maybe I would consider having hard copies available in my classroom. This collection doesn't really fit within my definition of YA literature, as I feel these poems don't tell a "YA" story. They're more about being Black in America, at any age. I feel like anyone of any age would enjoy this collection. But, of course, this book is teachable. We should be teaching poems from a wide variety of poets. Before reading this collection, I wasn't aware of maybe half of these poets. Some of my favorites were "The Song of the Smoke" by W.E.B Du Bois, "Heritage" and "To a Dark Girl" by Gwendolyn B. Bennett, "Merry-Go-Round" by Langston Hughes, "We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks, and my absolute favorite, "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Reimy Concepcion

    I really enjoyed reading this compilation of poetry of different African American poets. I like that it isn't too long, so a class could be through this book in a week. I also like how the author chose to include introductions to each poet before readers have the chance to actually read their work because not everyone might be familiar with that specific poet and their contribution to African American literature. I think this book is one that both white students and black could benefit from; the I really enjoyed reading this compilation of poetry of different African American poets. I like that it isn't too long, so a class could be through this book in a week. I also like how the author chose to include introductions to each poet before readers have the chance to actually read their work because not everyone might be familiar with that specific poet and their contribution to African American literature. I think this book is one that both white students and black could benefit from; they'll both gain knowledge from history as well as start to open their minds to the kinds of oppressions black people faced. The inclusion of illustrations is also a nice touch because I feel like this book is more geared to middle school students, so it would be nice for them to still see images in books as they transition into different reading levels. I think it is necessary to focus on and analyze certain poems in the book, such as I, Too, Sing America or In the Year. I would want to try having students take turns memorizing and reciting their favorite stanza (or at least four lines) from the play and speaking on why they chose that specific part, poem, and author. This book could be informative as well as entertaining for young middle schoolers.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Eleni

    I enjoyed this book for a multitude of reasons. One of them being that we get to learn about so many authors that we might not have heard before. We also get a little briefing about the author themselves, which when doing a close-reading could be important. The intertwining of art, poetic expression and the Black experience in the USA is also a really great examination of the culture. In the classroom, I would LOVE to teach this. One idea I had while reading this, is perhaps for a middle school I enjoyed this book for a multitude of reasons. One of them being that we get to learn about so many authors that we might not have heard before. We also get a little briefing about the author themselves, which when doing a close-reading could be important. The intertwining of art, poetic expression and the Black experience in the USA is also a really great examination of the culture. In the classroom, I would LOVE to teach this. One idea I had while reading this, is perhaps for a middle school classroom. Each student could be assigned an author/poem and they could do a kind of 'speed meeting', going around the classroom and introducing their authors/poems to each student and telling them what it's about. Another idea I had was if each student picked a poem, then wrote their own based on inspiration from the poem that they had picked. We as a class could make an anthology of them, and if any of them wanted to draw pictures we could add that as well. I think another idea for me, as a teacher, would be to share out one of the poems everyday, say during a poetry unit. Or it could be used as a supplemental reading individually as well, depending on the unit.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tara Durkin

    I absolutely loved Catherine Clinton’s I, Too, Sing America; I think that this piece of literature is an incredibly beautiful and effective way to introduce readers to a vast collection of poetry and authors, while engaging them through imagery. I think that Clinton’s work would be extremely beneficial to teach in a classroom at any grade level. This marvelous collection of poems is a great way to introduce students to a diverse assemblage of African American authors, which they may have not had I absolutely loved Catherine Clinton’s I, Too, Sing America; I think that this piece of literature is an incredibly beautiful and effective way to introduce readers to a vast collection of poetry and authors, while engaging them through imagery. I think that Clinton’s work would be extremely beneficial to teach in a classroom at any grade level. This marvelous collection of poems is a great way to introduce students to a diverse assemblage of African American authors, which they may have not had the privilege of reading otherwise. Something unique, that I really enjoyed about this compilation of poetry is that it encompasses three centuries of poetry and 35 authors; allowing students to be exposed to such diversity through poetry is an immensely beneficial way to engage students. It’s beautiful to read through such beautiful history in a artistic and charming way , I would highly recommend this to any students and teachers looking to expand their knowledge of African American history.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Burke

    This was such an excellent read! For young readers, it's important for them to be exposed to poetry. I am a huge fan of Harlem Renaissance poetry, so it's always a joy to read, and this book covers a larger scope than even that. I love how poetry serves as a window into the souls who lived through such significant times in our history. This is particularly significant for history which touches the vast community of POC. Art and history are opposite sides of the same coin in many ways. In the clas This was such an excellent read! For young readers, it's important for them to be exposed to poetry. I am a huge fan of Harlem Renaissance poetry, so it's always a joy to read, and this book covers a larger scope than even that. I love how poetry serves as a window into the souls who lived through such significant times in our history. This is particularly significant for history which touches the vast community of POC. Art and history are opposite sides of the same coin in many ways. In the classroom, an edition such as this one would serve as a wonderful focused text, or even supplemental text. It has the additional content of short author biographies accompanying each poem, which enriches the experience I mentioned before about poetry being a window into the souls of those it speaks for. Including a bio of the authors allows for students to bring context to what they are reading and opens them up to an opportunity to develop empathy and perspective around the poetry and the time and community it represents.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    What an incredible book and an immense variety of African American poets throughout history.I think this is a great book to bring into the classroom. It gives students a chance to be introduced to not only more black poetry, but also adds the history of these poets and what gave them their inspiration to write. I remember reading We Wear The Mask in school and that is one of the poems that remained in my memory. I think it really stayed with me because the messages behind the metaphor of the mas What an incredible book and an immense variety of African American poets throughout history.I think this is a great book to bring into the classroom. It gives students a chance to be introduced to not only more black poetry, but also adds the history of these poets and what gave them their inspiration to write. I remember reading We Wear The Mask in school and that is one of the poems that remained in my memory. I think it really stayed with me because the messages behind the metaphor of the mask are so powerful, and are real experiences and emotions of Paul Laurence Dunbar. By bringing more poems like these into the classroom, other students will be able to find a poem that sticks out to them and have it stay with them throughout their life. I think what is also so great about this book is that you can jump around and aren't limited to reading the poems in chronological order. This book can expand on what kind of poets students look at, and can also help in relating one poet to another if they share similar views and ideas.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Brunet

    I've been parsing through the selections for the past week. I don't usually enjoy poetry, and while I didn't love this book, I do appreciate the voice that it gives to those trampled under the hard foot of history. The fact that it's comprised of various authors gives new life with each turn of the page, and each poem speaks to a different aspect of life as an African American since the Nation's inception. I struggle with ideas when it comes to teaching poetry. But the fragmented nature of the bo I've been parsing through the selections for the past week. I don't usually enjoy poetry, and while I didn't love this book, I do appreciate the voice that it gives to those trampled under the hard foot of history. The fact that it's comprised of various authors gives new life with each turn of the page, and each poem speaks to a different aspect of life as an African American since the Nation's inception. I struggle with ideas when it comes to teaching poetry. But the fragmented nature of the book I think really allows for independent study of a singular poem. I imagine that the student's would be able to peruse and find a couple poems they enjoy and are interested in. The overall assignment could be a research paper to gain insight to the life of the writer, the struggles they endured, and the typical form of their art. Perhaps, even, I would be able to find a way to tie contemporary hip-hop into the assignment, asking kids to find (appropriate) analogues to the poem of their selection.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian Andrade

    I am excited to incorporate this novel in my classroom library. Even though the poems are all beautifully written and important, I think that the feature that makes this novel stand out from other anthologies are the beautiful illustrations provided with each poem. The poem that I was given to annotate was "Primer" by Rita Dove, and I was blown away by how relatable the poem was. I think that many of my students that come across this text will be able to relate to at least one poem. The illustra I am excited to incorporate this novel in my classroom library. Even though the poems are all beautifully written and important, I think that the feature that makes this novel stand out from other anthologies are the beautiful illustrations provided with each poem. The poem that I was given to annotate was "Primer" by Rita Dove, and I was blown away by how relatable the poem was. I think that many of my students that come across this text will be able to relate to at least one poem. The illustrations are a nice supplement to further evoke emotion to readers. The poems in this text also give us a lens into the experience of black people in America. I think this book is necessary as it presents the themes in a light manner, poetry. I know that many students are not big fans of poetry, however I found that most of the poems in this book were a light read. I also appreciated that the text featured a wide range of black authors, all with different experiences, keeping reads fresh. I know that my students will enjoy reading the poems and seeing the illustrations.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    This was such an inspiring collection of poems that offers a great deal of insight into the African-American experience and struggle. I think the inclusion of each author's biography, or a short summary of it rather, is helpful in getting a better context of the history behind each poem. I read along to an audiobook recording, and hearing each poem being spoken created even more depth to each poem that made for a very enlightening experience. I hadn't even heard of some of the poets included in This was such an inspiring collection of poems that offers a great deal of insight into the African-American experience and struggle. I think the inclusion of each author's biography, or a short summary of it rather, is helpful in getting a better context of the history behind each poem. I read along to an audiobook recording, and hearing each poem being spoken created even more depth to each poem that made for a very enlightening experience. I hadn't even heard of some of the poets included in the book, and as such I think this book would be very useful and educational for students in a classroom setting. I think for a poetry unit this book would be perfect, as it showcases a different style and thematic structure to poetry that the more commonly taught poems don't necessarily offer. Teaching this novel would also allow students to explore the history and context surrounding each author and poem, creating a more layered learning experience.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Lamb

    This collection of poems and background information on African American poets really opened my eyes. Reading what used to be and comparing it to life today, it's sad to say not much has changed. Each poet was able to bring us into their world, to understand their struggles and frustrations and by doing so, was able to teach us more of our history. As a future English teacher, I find this collection of poems to be a mandatory read for students of all ages. Each student can identify in some way wi This collection of poems and background information on African American poets really opened my eyes. Reading what used to be and comparing it to life today, it's sad to say not much has changed. Each poet was able to bring us into their world, to understand their struggles and frustrations and by doing so, was able to teach us more of our history. As a future English teacher, I find this collection of poems to be a mandatory read for students of all ages. Each student can identify in some way with at least one of the poems. Poetry is a beautiful writing technique, because it gives readers the opportunity to identify it and compare it to different aspects of their lives. The book is special because even if a poem may be dense or hard to understand, readers can look at the attached illustrations to be able to piece together the poems meaning and importance. This book is our history and everyone should read it!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dana Buquicchio

    This is a really great book of poetry and I think it would be fantastic included in any curriculum. I really loved that there was a piece of artwork to accompany each poem. It helped to enhance the meaning even more and it would be a great visual for students to analyze after reading. I was also happy to see that each poet had a small bibliography, I think that really helps to get to know each poet before diving into their poetry. This would be a great addition to any classroom. Having students This is a really great book of poetry and I think it would be fantastic included in any curriculum. I really loved that there was a piece of artwork to accompany each poem. It helped to enhance the meaning even more and it would be a great visual for students to analyze after reading. I was also happy to see that each poet had a small bibliography, I think that really helps to get to know each poet before diving into their poetry. This would be a great addition to any classroom. Having students do what we are doing and each take a poem to explain the meaning and a little about the author or even just picking out some poems to teach along with other novels or in a poetry unit would be a great use of this collection of poetry. I don’t think it is totally necessary for each student to have a copy of the book, as the poems and much of the information is available online, I think it is a great collection for teachers to draw from.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julia Goodwin

    This book provided a comprehensive look at African American poets and throughout the years and how these writers have utilized their poetry to craft social commentary and aim to effect social change. I appreciated how educational this book was in terms of these literary figures. This book can help students to learn more about Black writers and the history of writing within the Black community. I'd recommend teaching this book to younger high schoolers, probably ninth graders. This book is great This book provided a comprehensive look at African American poets and throughout the years and how these writers have utilized their poetry to craft social commentary and aim to effect social change. I appreciated how educational this book was in terms of these literary figures. This book can help students to learn more about Black writers and the history of writing within the Black community. I'd recommend teaching this book to younger high schoolers, probably ninth graders. This book is great for educating students because of the historical background behind each poet that Clinton is able to delve into. Not only will students be able to analyze important pieces of poetry and how these poets are able to wield language in meaningful ways, but they will also gain a full understanding of the context behind these pieces and the importance of each poet.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Gagliano

    I, Too, Sing America is a great collection of African American poetry. The selection of poetry covers a range of themes and time periods, and it is organized in a logical way. Stephen Alcorn's illustrations are also a nice addition. The presentation are curation are good, and that's really all you can ask for a book that is made up of works from other authors. I do not think it would be wise to teach I, Too, Sing America in its entirety in Middle School or High School (too much poetry at once), b I, Too, Sing America is a great collection of African American poetry. The selection of poetry covers a range of themes and time periods, and it is organized in a logical way. Stephen Alcorn's illustrations are also a nice addition. The presentation are curation are good, and that's really all you can ask for a book that is made up of works from other authors. I do not think it would be wise to teach I, Too, Sing America in its entirety in Middle School or High School (too much poetry at once), but I think that a lot of the poems in the book could be used as supplemental material if they connect in some way to a unit that is being taught. I also think that I, Too, Sing America would be a great book to include in a classroom library at the Middle School level, for students with a budding interest in poetry or Black history.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sean Bottalico

    I, Too, Sing America is a great collection of poems that anyone can find inspiring and thoughtful. I enjoyed reading this book and can see this being a great addition to any classroom. Despite the praise I have for this book, there are a handful of poems I find to be a bit confusing especially for the ‘non-poetry-inclined.’ Although it's only a few poems here and there, I wonder if this would create a mental roadblock for some students. I think this book would fit well in any classroom, but if I, Too, Sing America is a great collection of poems that anyone can find inspiring and thoughtful. I enjoyed reading this book and can see this being a great addition to any classroom. Despite the praise I have for this book, there are a handful of poems I find to be a bit confusing especially for the ‘non-poetry-inclined.’ Although it's only a few poems here and there, I wonder if this would create a mental roadblock for some students. I think this book would fit well in any classroom, but if you were to take portions of this book to work with out of inspiration it would definitely bode well with a unit that incorporates the Harlem Renaissance era in it. If I had to choose a grade for this book to be taught at I wouldnt have a tight preference, but I could see it working better with younger students.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jason Escobar

    I really enjoyed this collection of poetry, It's is something I would keep around the classroom and read a page a day. The more and more I read, I started to think how much I could actually utilize this collection. As we often remember from our middle school or high school careers many of us didn't really get to have a whole unit with poetry, as it was often very glossed over. I could definitely use this as the foundation for a unit dedicated to poetry, I would also look into assigning them a un I really enjoyed this collection of poetry, It's is something I would keep around the classroom and read a page a day. The more and more I read, I started to think how much I could actually utilize this collection. As we often remember from our middle school or high school careers many of us didn't really get to have a whole unit with poetry, as it was often very glossed over. I could definitely use this as the foundation for a unit dedicated to poetry, I would also look into assigning them a unit project where I have them create their own art to whatever poem they like. This is valuable as it shows that there can be more than one interaction of someone's poetry. Other than assigning some fun project, we could also dissect poems and go into depth and have students attempt to do their own poems.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shabiha Rahman

    This collection of poems is extremely valuable, especially for students in middle school and high school. They are timeless and include authors and poets that are important to acknowledge. What also makes it great is the way this can very easily be paired with a larger body of work or be used for a poetry unit. It might even be a good way to begin African American History month because the poems and illustrations are so telling. The poems themselves are not daunting or too difficult to understan This collection of poems is extremely valuable, especially for students in middle school and high school. They are timeless and include authors and poets that are important to acknowledge. What also makes it great is the way this can very easily be paired with a larger body of work or be used for a poetry unit. It might even be a good way to begin African American History month because the poems and illustrations are so telling. The poems themselves are not daunting or too difficult to understand, especially with guidance and working through it in a classroom. The themes however, are brutally honest and do not shy away from the black experience in America. It is important to learn and establish a true historical background for these poems. The illustrations also allow students to dive deeper into the meanings and details of the poem that come to life with an image.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katie.Mun

    This book is an amazing gateway for anyone, even young children, to learn more about African American literature. The author provides a brief description of the writer of the poem and the thoughts behind it. The poems are provided in large font, making it easy for a teacher to read for their class. I think my favorite part of this book is the art that comes after all the poems, as they add emotion, power, and more food for thought right after reading the poetry. If I were to teach this in a clas This book is an amazing gateway for anyone, even young children, to learn more about African American literature. The author provides a brief description of the writer of the poem and the thoughts behind it. The poems are provided in large font, making it easy for a teacher to read for their class. I think my favorite part of this book is the art that comes after all the poems, as they add emotion, power, and more food for thought right after reading the poetry. If I were to teach this in a classroom, I would have my students pick a poem they like and write why they like it. I would also have them more research on the writers of the poems they chose. Then I would form groups and have them share their thoughts on the poem and something new they found out about the poet.

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