I Am a Black Woman by Mari EvansMari Evans attended the University of Toledo and later taught at several other schools, including Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. She began five years of writing, producing, and directing for an Indianapolis television program, “The Black Experience,” in 1968, the same year her first poetry collection, Where Is All the Music?, was published. With her second collection, I Am a Black Woman (1970), she gained acclaim as an important new poet. Her poem “Who Can Be Born Black” was often anthologized.
Her later collections include Nightstar: 1973–1978 (1981), whose poems praise blues artists and community heroes and heroines, and A Dark and Splendid Mass (1992). Continuum, published in 2007, contains classic poems from Evanss previous collections as well as new work inflected by the same unique insight into African American life that defined her earlier oeuvre. In her works for young readers, Evans often touched on difficult topics such as child abuse ( Dear Corinne: Tell Somebody, 1999) and adolescent relationships ( Im Late: The Story of LaNeese and Moonlight and Alisha Who Didnt Have Anyone of Her Own, 2005). Evanss plays include River of My Song (produced 1977) and the musical Eyes (produced 1979), an adaptation of Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God. She edited the anthology Black Women Writers (1950–1980): A Critical Evaluation (1984) and published Clarity as Concept: A Poets Perspective (2006), a collection of essays commenting on African American politics and family life.
Oxford Companion to African American Literature: Mari Evans
Mari Evans Poet 9 1 I Am A Black Woman by Student Stanley L Raper 4
Mari Evans’ “I Am a Black Woman”
Evans received grants and awards including a lifetime achievement award from the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, and her poetry is known for its lyrical simplicity and the directness of its themes. Evans was born in Toledo, Ohio. Her mother died when Evans was 10 years old. She attended local public schools before going on to the University of Toledo, where she majored in fashion design in but left without a degree. She later began a series of teaching appointments in American universities in During —70, she served as writer in residence at Indiana University-Purdue, where she taught courses in African-American Literature.
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She was influenced by Langston Hughes, who was an early supporter of her writing. In her short-lined poems, grounded in personal narratives, Evans explored the nature of community and the power of language to name and reframe. I am a Black Woman is a poem that highlights the unique struggles that African Americans have faced throughout history, specifically focusing on African American women, and how that shaped them today as strong and resilient people. With strong use of symbolism and allusions, Evans notes specific times throughout history that have played major roles in the suffering of African American women. The poem highlights how this history of suffering and pain have helped define the black woman today as strong, and this unwavering strength is what it means to be a black woman. It can be seen as a broken chord. Using this description, Evans is saying that the experience of a black woman is a succession of pain and sadness, with one injustice following another over and over again.
an exploration of the Black Arts Movement, from the 1960s to the present
She was raised in a very traditional black family. She attended the University of Toledo, and has been married and divorced. Evans pursued a career in teaching, lecturing on literature and writing in several schools in the Midwest and East including Indiana University and Purdue.