Committee Chair

Braggs, Earl S.

Committee Member

Jackson, Richard P.; Baker, Sybil


Dept. of English


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


My thesis is comprised of a collection of 35 poems, new and revised, and it will include an introduction that traces the evolution of my writing starting from early influences through my term in the UT Chattanooga graduate program. This abstract is meant to provide a context for the creative pr ocess involved in the making of the poems and to suggest some of the background reading that has and will go into the project. The title of this thesis, “To make a poet Black then bid him sing,” comes from the Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen’s, “Yet do I Marvel,” a poem that questions God’s intentions in placing a curse on a man, then requiring him to sing. This to me was a dichotomy that seemed to underpin my own work as it was developing. There are three sources that have influenced my poems: Th e Traditional Black Aesthetic, International poetry and poetics, and contemporary American poetry and poetics. As my own work has developed I have synthesized these influences in my own individual way. For example, my own poem “Thinking of Blackness,” among other poems has been influenced by what I call the Traditional Black Aesthetic, which includes poets from the Harlem Renaissance as well as Tennessee born poets whose afro-centric themes, free verse and political relevance found space in my poems such as “This Old Tree,” Homeless Poem” and “Swimming the Mississippi.” These poems are among the collection included in this thesis project.


M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.




American poetry


English Language and Literature

Document Type

Masters theses


vi, 66 leaves




Under copyright.