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The African American SonnetA Literary History$
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Timo Müller

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496817839

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496817839.001.0001

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The Spaces of Black Experimental Poetry

The Spaces of Black Experimental Poetry

(p.109) Chapter 6 The Spaces of Black Experimental Poetry
The African American Sonnet

Timo Müller

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter reads black experimental poetry of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries through the lens of the sonnet. While scholars such as Aldon Nielsen and Anthony Reed have stressed the temporal dimension of this poetry, the popularity of the sonnet among black experimental poets draws attention to the spatial dimension. In close readings of sonnet sequences by Ed Roberson, Wanda Coleman, Rita Dove, G. E. Patterson, and Wanda Phipps, the chapter shows how these poets use techniques such as seriality and fragmentation to explore the interstices of contemporary discourses about blackness, question conventionalized meanings, and envision a sphere of semantic openness that overcomes racial stereotypes and limiting ascriptions.

Keywords:   experimental poetry, sonnet sequence, interstices, seriality, fragmentation

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