A Harlem Renaissance classic: seven inspirational poems inspired by the powerful rhetorical traditions of African-American sermons and spirituals.
James Weldon Johnson, the co-author of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and author of The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, was a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance. In God's Trombones, one of his most celebrated works, the rich tradition of inspirational sermons by Black preachers are reimagined as poetry, reverberating with the musicality and splendid eloquence of the classic spirituals. This collection includes "The Creation," "The Prodigal Son," "Go Down Death (A Funeral Sermon)," "Noah Built the Ark," "The Crucifixion," "Let My People Go," and "The Judgment Day," and includes the remarkable original illustrations by artist Aaron Douglas.
About the Author
JAMES WELDON JOHNSON (1871–1938) was a novelist, poet, lawyer, editor, and ethnomusicologist, and coauthor of the hymn "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which is widely known as the Black national anthem. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, he was educated at Atlanta University and at Columbia University and was the first Black lawyer admitted to the Florida bar. He was also a songwriter in New York, American consul in Venezuela and Nicaragua, executive secretary of the NAACP, and professor of creative literature at Fisk University. His other books include an autobiography, Along This Way, and the novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.
ABOUT THE INTRODUCER:
GREGORY PARDLO is the author of Air Traffic and of Digest, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Pardlo's poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and The New York Times, among others, and he has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is poetry editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and a visiting associate professor at New York University Abu Dhabi.
Praise for God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse
“[Johnson ] is a distinguished and intelligent poet. . . . There is sensitivity, artistic judgment, and a sustained emotional beauty in his work." —The New York Times