Saturday, February 09, 2008

Paul Laurence Dunbar


Paul Lawrence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 - Feb. 9, 1906) was the first poet to use Black dialect in his verse. Dunbar also has the distinction of being the first American poet and novelist of African descent to attain international recognition. Here is an example of Paul Laurence Dunbar's poetry in dialect:



A Negro Love Song


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.


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Photo source: washingtonart.com
Suggested Reading: Braxton, Joanne M., Ed. The Collected Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar. (University Press of Virginia, 1993.)
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