Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kudos to Carol Rumens and Paul Laurence Dunbar

Thank you Carol Rumens for an excellent synopsis of Paul Laurence Dunbar, in your "Poem of the Week" column for the Guardian (September 28, 2009). Dunbar's talent is, as you put it, "bilingual," and both of his languages should be appreciated by readers. It seems to me that today we should be particularly grateful for the dialect poems, because they give testimony to the that era when reading and writing were not skills allowed to slaves. Dunbar's voice and humor influenced Langston Hughes. Both poets spent some important early days in Chicago, but never met, because Dunbar died so young, in 1906.