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Mon, 10.13.1902

Arna Bontemps, A poet, teacher and author of children’s books

Arna Bontemps

Arna W. Bontemps, a Black writer born in Alexandria, LA, was born on this date in 1902.

Bontemps received a B.A. from the Pacific Union College of California in 1923, and an M. A. from the University of Chicago in 1943. He was a teacher at every level of education.

His poems reflect the standard forms of English free verse. He was editor of Golden Slipper, an anthology of Negro poetry for young people and co-editor with Langston Hughes of “The Poetry of the Negro: 1746-1949.” Bontemps wrote a number of books for children and was a librarian at Fisk University for many years.  He authored 25 books and worked closely with  Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Claude McKay. For his poetic works, he received the Crisis Magazine Prize in 1926, the Alexander Pushkin Prize for two consecutive years, and many other outstanding awards for his poetry. (Barksdale 628)

Arna W. Bontemps died in 1973.

The Vintage Book of African American Poetry
Edited and with Introduction by Michael S. Harper & Anthony Walton
Copyright 2000
Vintage Books, Random House Ind., New York
ISBN 0-375-70300-7

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