August 3

Today’s poet choice is Paul Laurence Dunbar, and the poem, or poems, are “a couple of Rondeaux” he included in a letter that probably also show up separately in one or more of his books. I don’t know. But before I give you the link, I want to share a few thoughts.

Dunbar was one of many forerunners, perhaps a preeminent one, yes, definitely a preeminent one, to what’s referred to as the Harlem Renaissance. He wrote free verse, he wrote in Negro dialect, and he wrote highly structured verse (these Rondeaux are an example of that). People say the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance was a sort of resistance to modernist trends in poetry in its’ poets adherence to structure, tight rhythms, rhyming schemes, and classical conventions. As my Puerto Rican friend would say, I am not a saint to that devotion. Modernism ruled for many years, across all art forms, but wasn’t it really just a moment? Now we are post-modern, and reconsidering all art forms that modernism may have turned its snooty nose up at.

OK. I guess I can go on and on forever. Here is a link to the Dunbar Rondeaux. Enjoy!

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