By Harold Bloom
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Additional info for African-American Poets, Volume 2, New Edition (Bloom's Modern Critical Views)
I find this a dizzying journey, especially since it is made not only in the company of Harper but also Etienne, an African who served in the Trask household in 1881. ” One night after midnight, I opened my door, thinking I heard a noise downstairs: there, just outside the threshold, lay Etienne, a most startling sight. He was the blackest black man that could be imagined: he lay on his back, stretched to his full length, sound asleep, and in his hand was a large carving knife! The fear that had impelled me to open the door was as nothing compared to my sudden fear of Etienne, the son of a cannibal, a carving knife in his hand, at my door!
Harper 49 rather than rhetoric or narrative, and he demands an extraordinary amount of work from his readers. Indeed, much of the aesthetic body of each poem depends on its relation to other poems and the way a careful and informed reader will see connections and ironies. This technique is often seen as academic, but despite its inter- and intra-textual allusiveness, Harper reminds us that he does not live—or write—in an ivory tower. Although Harper may sometimes write with resonance to Ezra Pound or T.
Had Washington’s politics won out, Harper’s oeuvre would not exist, including the poem under question. Washington’s priority was economic enfranchisement, at the expense of both learning for its own sake and political enfranchisement; his emphasis on industrial education required that reading and writing be firmly linked to the learning of trades. Further, 46 Elizabeth Dodd agriculture was to be the trade of choice at Tuskegee, with an eye to promoting higher crop yields and market production to ensure economic profit.
African-American Poets, Volume 2, New Edition (Bloom's Modern Critical Views) by Harold Bloom