21 March 2010
Mari Evans’ “I Am a Black Woman”
“Mari Evans is one of the most energetic and respected poets of the Black Arts movement” (1850). The themes of her poems are very direct, but the simple lyrics make the poem eloquent (1850). “Lost love, a lost Africa, failed relationships between black woman and black men” are usually the tails of her poems (1850). Yet she also portrays that “losses summon from us the courage to struggle , to continue in the face of adversity and pain” (1850). “‘I Am a Black Woman’ whose title poem first appeared in Negro Digest, links the themes of black enslavement and impoverishment with the global oppression of the wretched” (1850). “The volume [“ I Am a Black Woman”] heralded the arrival of a poet who took her subject matter from the black community, and who celebrated its triumphs, especially the focus on the beauty of blackness that characterized the black arts and civil rights movements.”(Gale ) Therefore, understanding Mari Evans’ themes and tone fuels the greatness of “I Am a Black Woman”.
Mari Evans’ usually deals with the despair and loss of the African American citizen in her literary work. In “I Am a Black Woman”, Evans chooses to tell the story of the black woman. She portrays the roles and relationships of the black woman. Evans’ includes the story of all black women’s pain, their fight for civil rights, the black lover, and the black mother. The narrator of this poem describes, in lines 1-4, the pain black women experience because they are black woman:
I am a black woman
the music of my song
some sweet arpeggio of tears
is written in a minor key
The “music of my song/some sweet arpeggio of tears” tells of the internal struggle of being a black woman. Also what it means to be a black woman. Evans’ portrays the despair felt from...
Gates, Henry Louis Jr. and Nellie Y McKay, ed. Norton Anthology of African American Literature. 2nd ed. New York: WW. Norton, 2004. 2096 |
Gates, Henry Louis Jr. and Nellie Y McKay, ed. “I Am a Black Woman.” Norton Anthology of African American Literature. 2nd ed,. New York: WW. Norton, 2004. 1851-1852. |
Gates, Henry Louis Jr. and Nellie Y McKay, ed. “The Black Arts Era 1960-1975.” Norton Anthology of African American Literature. 2nd ed. New York: WW. Norton, 2004. 1831-1850. Print. |
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