Monday, April 4, 2016

APRIL IS NATIONAL POETRY MONTH - PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR



June 27, 1872 - February 9, 1906


   Paul Laurence Dunbar only lived 33 years but was the first nationally recognized African American poet.  A friend of Frederick Douglass, Douglass called him the most promising young "colored" man in America.

   Just a few of his poems.  Please check the links below for more.

A Negro Love Song


BY PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR
Seen my lady home las' night,
Jump back, honey, jump back.
Hel' huh han' an' sque'z it tight,
Jump back, honey, jump back.
Hyeahd huh sigh a little sigh,
Seen a light gleam f'om huh eye,
An' a smile go flittin' by —
Jump back, honey, jump back.

Hyeahd de win' blow thoo de pine,
Jump back, honey, jump back.
Mockin'-bird was singin' fine,
Jump back, honey, jump back.
An' my hea't was beatin' so,
When I reached my lady's do',
Dat I could n't ba' to go —
Jump back, honey, jump back.

Put my ahm aroun' huh wais',
Jump back, honey, jump back.
Raised huh lips an' took a tase,
Jump back, honey, jump back.
Love me, honey, love me true?
Love me well ez I love you?
An' she answe'd, "'Cose I do"—
Jump back, honey, jump back.


Invitation to Love
BY PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR
Come when the nights are bright with stars
Or come when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars
Drops on the hay-field yellow.
Come in the twilight soft and gray,
Come in the night or come in the day,
Come, O love, whene’er you may,
And you are welcome, welcome.

You are sweet, O Love, dear Love,
You are soft as the nesting dove.
Come to my heart and bring it to rest
As the bird flies home to its welcome nest.

Come when my heart is full of grief
Or when my heart is merry;
Come with the falling of the leaf
Or with the redd’ning cherry.
Come when the year’s first blossom blows,
Come when the summer gleams and glows,
Come with the winter’s drifting snows,
And you are welcome, welcome.


Little Brown Baby
BY PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR
Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes,
Come to yo' pappy an' set on his knee.
What you been doin', suh — makin' san' pies?
Look at dat bib — you's es du'ty ez me.
Look at dat mouf — dat's merlasses, I bet;
Come hyeah, Maria, an' wipe off his han's.
Bees gwine to ketch you an' eat you up yit,
Bein' so sticky an sweet — goodness lan's!

Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes,
Who's pappy's darlin' an' who's pappy's chile?
Who is it all de day nevah once tries
Fu' to be cross, er once loses dat smile?
Whah did you git dem teef? My, you's a scamp!
Whah did dat dimple come f'om in yo' chin?
Pappy do' know you — I b'lieves you's a tramp;
Mammy, dis hyeah's some ol' straggler got in!

Let's th'ow him outen de do' in de san',
We do' want stragglers a-layin' 'roun' hyeah;
Let's gin him 'way to de big buggah-man;
I know he's hidin' erroun' hyeah right neah.
Buggah-man, buggah-man, come in de do',
Hyeah's a bad boy you kin have fu' to eat.
Mammy an' pappy do' want him no mo',
Swaller him down f'om his haid to his feet!

Dah, now, I t'ought dat you'd hug me up close.
Go back, ol' buggah, you sha'n't have dis boy.
He ain't no tramp, ner no straggler, of co'se;
He's pappy's pa'dner an' play-mate an' joy.
Come to you' pallet now — go to yo' res';
Wisht you could allus know ease an' cleah skies;
Wisht you could stay jes' a chile on my breas'—
Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes!




   "During the final ten years of his life, Dunbar wrote prolifically, turning out poetry, short stories, novels, lyrics, and a variety of narrative works. Although only 33 when he died, his legacy, most notably his dialect poetry, influenced many writers of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Regarded as one of the leading African American writers of the 20th century, Dunbar and his work continue to fuel academic debates. In recent years, new collections of his work have added more than 100 undiscovered or uncollected poetic and narrative works by Dunbar to the already large body of his writings. Taken in its entirety, Dunbar's extensive body of work provides a significant representation of African American life at the turn of the twentieth century."
Academy of American Poets - https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/paul-laurence-dunbar 
Poetry Foundation - http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/paul-laurence-dunbar
Life and Career - http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/dunbar/life.htm  
Special Collection & archives - Wright State Univ. - http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/biography 


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