Michael S. Harper Essay - Michael S. Harper American Literature Analysis

Michael S. Harper American Literature Analysis

The experience of life as a black American has been a major part of Harper’s work, but he has always vigorously resisted an obligation to write according to the expectations or demands of any particular group. In an interview, he complained about “people who are in influential positions” who ask “people who have been kicked in the teeth how it feels.” Harper goes on to say that “the first act of liberation is always to destroy one’s own cage,” and he has refused to accept any categorization of his work.

His insistence on defining his art as a part of a “totality larger than man” has led him toward a poetics that depends on several important principles of coherence. The most encompassing is an...

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