Poetry and the Heroic Voice
In this comprehensive biocritical study, Melhem—herself a poet and critic—traces the development of Brooks's poetry over four decades, from such early works as A Street in Bronzeville, Annie Allen, and The Bean Eaters, to the more recent In the Mecca, Riot, and To Disembark.
In addition to analyzing the poetic devices used, Melhem examines the biographical, historical, and literary contexts of Brooks's poetry: her upbringing and education, her political involvement in the struggle for civil rights, her efforts on behalf of young black poets, her role as a teacher, and her influence on black letters. Among the many sources examined are such revealing documents as Brooks's correspondence with her editor of twenty years and with other writers and critics.
From Melhem's illuminating study emerges a picture of the poet as prophet. Brooks's work, she shows, is consciously charged with the quest for emancipation and leadership, for black unity and pride. At the same time, Brooks is seen as one of the preeminent American poets of this century, influencing both African American letters and American literature generally. This important book is an indispensable guide to the work of a consummate poet.
About the Author
"The first comprehensive study of the poet."—Brooklyn Daily Eagle
"Melhem, in authenticating Brooks as a 'major' poet, achieves indeed a resource needed now."—Choice
"Thanks for pulling me into History. . . . Bravo!"—Gwendolyn Brooks
"A highly needed examination of themes and techniques of all of Brook's works. . . . A valuable contribution to the Brooks scholarship."—Journal of Modern Literature
"Will help bring Brooks the wide attention and appreciation that she has earned. Highly recommended."—Library Journal
"Timely, enjoyable, and useful. . . . Finely arranged and executed."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Other Titles by D.H. Melhem
Other Titles in LITERARY CRITICISM / American / African American