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Dolores Kendrick and Judith Thomas explore the powerful historical images of women whose lives bore witness to struggle.

Selected Bibliography

  • Now is the Thing to Praise. Lansing, MI: Lotus Press, 1984.

  • The Women of Plums: Poems in the Voices of Slave Women. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1989.

Discussion Questions

1. Describe the voice in "Peggy in Killing." Would the poem be as powerful in the third person? Compare the poem to Toni Morrison's novel Beloved.

2. Why are her poems about the experience of slavery able to cross racial boundaries and touch a white mother, as she gave in her example? What techniques does she use in her poetry to bring about this effect?

3. What does she mean by empowering yourself to prevent invisibility? Is this a problem that everyone must solve? How has Ralph Ellison influenced Kendrick's solution?


Dolores Kendrick, poet, playwright and educator, has been published in the Beloit Poetry Journal, the Indiana Review, Open Places and several other anthologies. Author of Through the Ceiling (1975) and Now is the Thing to Praise (1984), she has received great acclaim for The Women of Plums (1989). This book won the Ansfield-Wolf Award in 1990, it was listed as the New York Public Library Best Book for Teenagers in 1991 and it was the inspiration for an original production by Karamu Theatre in Cleveland. The poem "Peggy in Killing" from The Women of Plums has been adapted for an opera which will open in New York in the spring of 1995. Kendrick has also recorded her poetry as a part of the Contemporary Poets' Series by the Library of Congress and has read at The Folger Shakespeare Library, the Library of Congress and the Gertrude Whittall Series. She has received a Fulbright to Ireland and a National Endowment for the Arts Award (1989). She is the Bira I. Heinz Professor Emerita at Phillips Exeter Academy and a National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Award recipient (1992).


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