American History

By Michael S. Harper b. 1938
Those four black girls blown up   
in that Alabama church
remind me of five hundred   
middle passage blacks,
in a net, under water
in Charleston harbor
so redcoats wouldn't find them.   
Can't find what you can't see   
can you?

Michael S. Harper, "American History" from Songlines in Michaeltree: New and Collected Poems. Copyright © 2000 by Michael S. Harper. Reprinted with the permission of University of Illinois Press, www.press.uillinois.edu/poetry/poetry.html.

Source: Songlines in Michaeltree: New and Collected Poems (University of Illinois Press, 2000)

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Poet Michael S. Harper b. 1938

Subjects Death, Race & Ethnicity, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Living, Crime & Punishment

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Michael S. Harper

Biography

Acclaimed poet and teacher Michael S. Harper was born in 1938, in Brooklyn, New York. Known his innovative use of jazz rhythms, cultural allusion, historical referent and personal narrative, Harper is “a deeply complex poet whose mission is to unite the fractured, inhumane technologies of our time with the abiding deep well of Negro folk traditions,” said John Callahan in the New Republic. Harper does this, noted Poetry reviewer . . .

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SUBJECT Death, Race & Ethnicity, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Living, Crime & Punishment

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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