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Complete Poems (Penguin Classics)


Complete Poems (Penguin Classics) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

2000 marks the centenary of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," James Weldon Johnson's most famous lyric, which is now embraced as the Negro National Anthem. In celebration, this Penguin original collects all the poems from Johnson's published works—Fifty Years and Other Poems (1917), God's Trombones (1927), and Saint Peter Relates an Incident of the Resurrection Day (1935)—along with a number of previously unpublished poems.

Sondra Kathryn Wilson, the foremost authority on Johnson and his work, provides an introduction that sheds light on Johnson's many achievements and his pioneering contributions to recording and celebrating the African American experience.

About the Author

James Weldon Johnson was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1871. Among the first to break through the barriers segregating his race, he was educated at Atlanta University and at Columbia and was the first black admitted to the Florida bar. He was also, for a time, a songwriter in New York, American consul in Venezuela and Nicaragua, executive secretary of the NAACP, and professor of creative literature at Fisk University—experiences recorded in his autobiography, Along This Way. Other books by him include Saint Peter Relates an Incident, Black Manhattan, and God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse. In addition to his own writing, Johnson was the editor of pioneering anthologies of black American poetry and spirituals. He died in 1938.

Table of Contents

Complete Poems Introduction

Suggestions for Further Reading


Part I. God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse

Preface to God's Trombones

Listen, Lord - A Prayer

The Creation

The Prodigal Son

Go Down Death - A Funeral Sermon

Noah Built the Ark

The Crucifixion

Let My People Go

The Judgment Day

Part II. Saint Peter Relates an Incident and Fifty Years and Other Poems

Saint Peter Relates an Incident of the Resurrection Day

O Black and Unknown Bards

Brothers - American Drama

O Southland!

We to America

Mother Night

The Young Warrior

The White Witch

My City

The Glory of the Day Was in Her Face


The Black Mammy


Mother, Farewell! (from the Spanish of Placido)

Girl of Fifteen

The Suicide

Down by the Carib Sea

I. Sunrise in the Tropics

II. Los Cigarrillos

III. Teestay

IV. The Lottery Girl

V. The Dancing Girl

VI. Sunset in the Tropics

Deep in the Quiet Wood

Prayer at Sunrise

Her Eyes Twin Pools


If I Were Paris

Ghosts of the Old Year

Beauty Never Old

Blessed Sleep

The Greatest of These Is War

A Poet to His Baby Son

Ma Lady's Lips Am Like de Honey

A Plantation Bacchanal


Brer Rabbit, You's de Cutes' of 'Em All

Answer to Prayer

A Banjo Song

The Rivals

Sence You Went Away

Lift Every Voice and Sing


Introduction to Fifty Years and Other Poems by Brander Matthews

Fifty Years

To Horace Bumstead

The Color Sergeant

From the German of Uhland

Before a Painting

I Hear the Stars Still Singing

A Mid-Day Dreamer

The Temptress

The Ghost of Deacon Brown



Voluptas (I)

The Word of an Engineer

The Gift to Sing

Morning, Noon and Night

The Awakening

Venus in a Garden

Nobody's Lookin' But de Owl and de Moon

You's Sweet to Yo' Mammy Jes de Same

July in Georgy

Dat Gal o' Mine

The Seasons

'Possum Song

An Explanation

De Little Pickaninny's Gone to Sleep

Part III. The College Years and Other Poems


A Passing Melody

The River


The Class of '94

Grandmother's Bible

A Dream


Sonnet - The Secret

Class Poem

Voluptas (II)

Optimistic Sam

Mobile Mardi Gras

After My First Week Teaching in the Country

To a Brook Near My School House

A Recollection

The Last Waltz

To a Friend

Only Trust Me

A Brand

Christmas Carol


To H.B.

To a Friend, with a Rose

A Heathen

To My Valentine

Ode to Florida


The Passionate Lover

Art vs. Trade

The Poet's Harp

I Love Thee Still

To Louie (I)

A Fragment (I)

Untitled Poem ("Was what you thought love, but passing")

Untitled Poem ("Come with me my love and wander")

Product Details

Wilson, Sondra Kathryn
Wilson, Sondra Kathryn
Wilson, Sondra Kathryn
Wilson, Sondra Kathryn
Johnson, James Weldon
Penguin Books
New York
Single Author - African American
African Americans
American - African American
Single Author / American
Poetry/African American
Edition Description:
Mass Market
Penguin Classics
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.81x5.13x.56 in. .43 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » American » African American

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