Owen Dodson (1914-1983)

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Owen Dodson (November 28, 1914 - June 21, 1983) wrote three books of poetry, 37 plays and opera libretti, and two novels. He enlisted in the Navy during WWII, which influenced the writing of his naval history plays. His Black history pageant New World A-Coming was performed at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1944. Dodson taught at Howard University from 1940 to 1970, where he was chair of the Drama department, and at Spelman College and Atlanta University as well. He was part of the generation of writers immediately after the Harlem Renaissance, and occasionally wrote in Black dialect. Dodson wrote about a wide variety of subjects in his poetry, including the African American experience in America, religion, sexuality (he was gay), and drama. Dodson's first collection of poems, Powerful Long Ladder, was published in 1940. Poems from his second collection, The Confession Stone: Song Cycles, were set to music by Robert Fleming in 1970. His third book of poetry, The Harlem Book of the Dead (1978), was in collaboration with photographer James Van Der Zee and artist Camille Billops. Dodson is said to be one of the leading African American poets of his time.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/167621/Owen-Dodson AND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owen_Dodson Beltway Poetry Quarterly: http://www.beltwaypoetry.com/poetry/poets/names/dodson-owen/ DC Writers’ Homes: http://dcwriters.poetrymutual.org/pages/dodson.html

Written by Word Works intern Monica Root October 2013; edited by Kim Roberts January 2017

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