Understanding Michael S. Harper

Understanding Michael S. Harper

A fresh examination of Harper's body of work as an archive of Black life, thought, and culture

The first book devoted to the groundbreaking poet's work, Understanding Michael S. Harper locates Harper's poetic project within Black expressive tradition. The study examines poems drawn from the eleven volumes of verse that Harper (1938–2016) produced between 1970 and 2010, bringing attention to his poetry's sustained engagement with music, literature, and the visual arts. Author Michael Antonucci offers readers an account of the poet's career while assessing his verse and providing a sense of its perspective on Black America and the American experience.

Throughout his examination of Harper's verse, Antonucci builds on the critical attention the poet received at the outset of his career—he was twice nominated for the National Book Award. Exploring the poet's celebrated examinations of history, kinship, and Black music, Understanding Michael S. Harper develops and expands critical dialogues about the poet and his body of work, which, Antonucci argues, presents a counternarrative about the composition and origins of the United States, reshaping prevailing discourse about race, nation, and identity.

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • Series Editor’s Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1 Understanding Michael S. Harper
  • Chapter 2 Acknowledgment (Kinship)
  • Chapter 3 Resolution (History as Mode)
  • Chapter 4 Pursuance (Black Music)
  • Chapter 5 Psalm (Memory and Remembrances)
  • Epilogue: “. . . Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone”
  • Notes
  • Works Cited
  • Index


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