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Jazz InternationalismLiterary Afro-Modernism and the Cultural Politics of Black Music$
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John Lowney

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041334

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041334.001.0001

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“Black Man’s Verse”

“Black Man’s Verse”

The Black Chicago Renaissance and the Popular Front Jazz Poetics of Frank Marshall Davis

Chapter:
(p.59) 2 “Black Man’s Verse”
Source:
Jazz Internationalism
Author(s):

John Lowney

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252041334.003.0003

This chapter argues for renewed recognition of Black Chicago Renaissance writer Frank Marshall Davis, whose first collection of poetry, Black Man’s Verse (1935), was widely celebrated for its innovative adaptations of African American vernacular forms, including the blues and jazz. Situating Davis within recent scholarly reassessment of the Black Chicago Renaissance, this chapter demonstrates how Davis’s jazz writing, as a journalist, critic, and poet, exemplifies the global orientation of the Black Chicago Renaissance that is becoming increasingly recognized. Davis’s jazz writing is especially important, for the subsequent Black Arts generation as well as for his Popular Front contemporaries, not only because of his development of inventive vernacular forms, but also because of his insistence on the African roots of African American music. In articulating how African musical principles inform jazz, Davis also underscored the international and interracial importance of jazz for black and working-class social progress.

Keywords:   Davis, Frank Marshall, Black Man’s Verse, Black Chicago Renaissance, Popular Front, jazz, blues, African roots of black music

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