Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press

Kobo ebook | March 7, 2004

byMelba Joyce Boyd

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And as I groped in darkness

and felt the pain of millions,

gradually, like day driving night across the continent,

I saw dawn upon them like the sun a vision.

-Dudley Randall, from "Roses and Revolutions"

In 1963, the African American poet Dudley Randall (1914 2000) wrote "The Ballad of Birmingham" in response to the bombing of a church in Alabama that killed four young black girls, and "Dressed All in Pink," about the assassination of President Kennedy. When both were set to music by folk singer Jerry Moore in 1965, Randall published them as broadsides. Thus was born the Broadside Press, whose popular chapbooks opened the canon of American literature to the works of African American writers.

Dudley Randall, one of the great success stories of American small-press history, was also poet laureate of Detroit, a civil-rights activist, and a force in the Black Arts Movement. Melba Joyce Boyd was an editor at Broadside, was Randall’s friend and colleague for twenty-eight years, and became his authorized biographer. Her book is an account of the interconnections between urban and labor politics in Detroit and the broader struggles of black America before and during the Civil Rights era. But also, through Randall’s poetry and sixteen years of interviews, the narrative is a multipart dialogue between poets, Randall, the author, and the history of American letters itself, and it affords unique insights into the life and work of this crucial figure.

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From the Publisher

And as I groped in darknessand felt the pain of millions,gradually, like day driving night across the continent,I saw dawn upon them like the sun a vision.-Dudley Randall, from "Roses and Revolutions"In 1963, the African American poet Dudley Randall (1914 2000) wrote "The Ballad of Birmingham" in response to the bombing of a church in ...

Melba Joyce Boyd is professor of Africana studies at Wayne State University and adjunct professor at the Center for Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of six books of poetry, including The Province of Literary Cats, co-editor of Abandoned Automobile: Detroit City Poetry 2001, author of...
Format:Kobo ebookPublished:March 7, 2004Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231503644

ISBN - 13:9780231503648

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction. Wrestling with the Muse
Beginnings and Endings
The Fertile Black Bottom of Paradise Valley
Poets of Black Bottom: Dudley Randall Meets Robert Hayden
War at Home and Abroad
The Return: Poetry and Prophecy
Sojourn and Return
The Emergence of the Second Renaissance in Detroit
"Ballad of Birmingham'': The Founding of Broadside Press and the Black Arts Movement
"Ya Vas Lyubil'': Alexander Pushkin, Dudley Randall, and the Black Russian Connection
Cultural Wars and Civil Wars
"Prophets for a New Day'': Diversity and Heritage
The New Black Poets
Dudley Randall's Poetic Dialectics and the Black Arts Movement
"After the Killing'': Dudley Randall's Black Arts Poetry
Poetry as Industry
"Shape of the Invisible'': The Rise and Fall of Broadside Press
"In the Mourning Time'': The Return
A Poet Is Not A Jukebox
At Peace with the Muse
"The Ascent''
Appendix I. Translating Poetry into Film
Appendix II. Worksheets for "Frederick Douglass and the Slave Breaker''

Editorial Reviews

A serious, delightful and unpredictable exursion into the vibrant and volatile social life of Detroit.