English 167 - Spring, 2023

20th-Century African American Poetry

Topic: 20th-Century African American Poetry and the Black Radical Tradition

Class Information

Instructor: Clover, Joshua
CRN: 62116
Time: TR 12:10-1:30pm
Location: REMOTE
GE Areas: American Cultures, Governance, and History Writing Experience


This course is about history, politics, and struggle. It just happens to use poetry as a way in, a kind of guide, and a complex record of human experience. We will focus on the Black Radical Tradition, sometimes known as the Black Revolutionary Tradition (BRT), which both includes and permeates 20th century poetry. As a result we'll focus particularly (but not exclusively) on the period from 1965-75, the peak of this tradition in the US. We'll read various poets with special attention to Claude McKay, Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, M. NourbeSe Philip. In addition to that we'll read weekly from political writings related to the BRT from Du Bois to Assata to the Combahee River Collective.


Grading will be based on regular reading responses, regular engagement, a short essay, a final essay, and a final exam.