African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology


Poems by African American writers using the Ballad form. Ballads are here defined as popular narrative poems that use rhymed quatrains, with alternating four-stress and three-stress lines.

Lewis Turco, in The Book of Forms, describes Ballads as follows: 

“The ballad is a relatively short lyric verse tale meant to be sung. There are distinctions to be made between literary ballads and folk ballads; the latter were passed down through oral traditions from balladeer to balladeer (a wandering minstrel, gleeman, jongleur, minnesinger, bard, or scop—an old English court or household poet-harpist-singer)." (Turco 2020, 352)

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