Sterling Brown Essay - Brown, Sterling

Brown, Sterling

Brown, Sterling 1901–

Brown, a Black American, has been publishing poetry and criticism since 1932.

[Like Arna Bontemps,] Sterling Brown, another black writer of the thirties, also dealt with the plight of the black southerner. Brown's 1932 volume of poetry, Southern Road, is in the best tradition of [Paul Laurence] Dunbar and [Langston] Hughes; throughout the work we are presented with black folk themes handled in beautifully lyrical folk forms. Brown employs the rhythms of the early folk songs, the stoicism of the blues, and the humor of the early folktales in an attempt to capture the struggle and frustration that characterize the black man's road in the South. "Sister Lou," which captures the same idiosyncracies of idiom and communal feeling seen in Dunbar, is one of Brown's finest efforts, and "Children of the Mississippi" follows close behind. The skill revealed in Brown's poems is more than matched by the skill manifested in his critical works. Negro Poetry and Drama and The Negro in American Fiction detail with consummate skill the contributions of a "forgotten race" to American culture.

Houston A. Baker, Jr., in his Black Literature in America, McGraw, 1971, p. 205.