Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

Paul Laurence Dunbar
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Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio to parents who had escaped from slavery; his father was a veteran of the American Civil War, having served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment. His parents instilled in him a love of learning and history. He was a student at an all-white high school, Dayton Central High School, and he participated actively as a student. During high school, he was both the editor of the school newspaper and class president, as well as the president of the school literary society. Dunbar had also started the first African-American newsletter in Dayton.

He wrote his first poem at age 6 and gave his first public... more »

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  • Rookie - 26 Points Alan Bradbury (4/25/2015 6:41:00 PM)

    From the book Wisdom & Whimsy: The Poetry of Roxanne Head (Lulu.com,2006)
    Paul Laurance Dunbar. Besides myself, he is my favorite poet.
    The great Negro poet, who was active in the early 1900s and died young of tuberculosis?
    No. Langston Hughes was a great Negro poet. Paul Dunbar is a great poet, period. The fact that his skin was black is irrelevant.

  • Rookie - 0 Points Bill Bob (1/12/2015 2:11:00 PM)

    Why is he black like 4 real

  • Gold Star - 23,139 Points * Sunprincess * (6/27/2014 9:29:00 AM)

    .............happy birthday paul laurence dunbar! ! !

  • Rookie Vicky Love (5/26/2014 5:30:00 AM)

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  • Rookie Mohlouoa Ntsasa (9/28/2013 7:17:00 AM)

    Dr Mohlouoa Ntsasa a South African prolific novelist, poet laureate, motivational speaker, acclaimed linguist, celebrated actor and academic. Mohlouoa Ntsasa is the first African Poet, to research and write for twelve years (12 years) a poetry book called “Poetry” that has all sixty one (61) known forms of poetry in one book, thus includes but not limited to: Acrostics, Anagrams, Canzones, Epigrams, Limericks, Monosyllabics, Palindromes, Rondeaus, Sestinas, Tercets etc, etc. Moreover, he wrote the second longest Palindrome Poem in the world, the first longest palindrome poem is 224 words written by Demetri Martin's and his is 335 words breaking the world record.


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    CLOSE HABIT (TYPE OF POEM: GHAZAL)

    I sniffed a habit called close
    I cut my heart to see you close

    I kiss your hands and neck
    Each time I pull you close

    I kiss your cheeks and eyes
    For keeping your beauty close

    I kiss your pains and tears
    Each time your wound close

    I kiss your world with a seal
    Nobody jealous can get close

    I kiss your shadow and smell
    Now for worry gap you close

    I kiss your lingerie’s and rings
    Behind each door you close

    I kiss your tongue and lips
    For every secret you disclose

    I kiss your divorce certificate
    Until I find someone close

    April 11,2011 by Mohlouoa Ntsasa

  • Rookie Russ Newsom (5/8/2013 6:43:00 AM)

    Incredible men should not be forgotten. Thank you Mr. Dunbar for your works.

  • Rookie Armando Lopez (6/21/2012 5:55:00 PM)

    I live on his street (N.P.L. DUNBAR ST., DAYTON, OH.,) and i am in sheer awe, as a poet myself, of the brilliance and talent of this precious man who lived 33 yrs. What a talent, and his final home is so beautiful! r.i.p. Paul.

  • Rookie Evelyn Morgan (4/17/2012 9:07:00 AM)

    I remember reading Paul Dunbar in high school and in a college poetry course. His words are not only profound, but they also read like music to the ears. He speaks from the heart about feelings that are not only evoking the black experience, but life experience. Try reading his poems aloud especially those in dialect. It's worth the extra effort.

  • Rookie Ben Highpriest (11/8/2011 9:04:00 PM)

    Paul Laurence Dunbar is the greatest example of what was wrong with Thomas Jefferson's views that blacks had no sense of poetry. Sure, he wrote in the sty; e of the most noted white poets of the day. But there are powerful metaphors in his words that are sometimes sad. Mostly, though he proved that education would render Jefferson wrong. His mother, while a slave, took in as much as she could from the poetry readings in the house where she worked. Did T.J., have such events? Paul learned the power of education from her. The other idiots who left there comments here know nothing about history and sound as if they think Dunbar was writing this stuff today, like a rap artist.
    ben

  • Rookie Habib Noori (9/23/2011 1:49:00 PM)

    ignorance, just ignorance

Read all 12 comments »
Best Poem of Paul Laurence Dunbar

We Wear The Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,--
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

Read the full of We Wear The Mask
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