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PINKIE GORDON LANE
Over the past three decades, Pinkie Gordon Lane has represented one of the quieter strains of Black poetry.
1. Where does Lane find the time to write her poetry? Is that how you envision a poet at work? How does that encourage you in your writing?
2. She identifies the greatest encouragement she ever received as coming from Margaret Danner who told her to be herself and create her own audience. Why would she find this to be the most important? What forms of discouragement were offered to Lane and to budding writers in your acquaintance?
3. Why does she call herself "an imagist"? Could all poets be called imagists? What are some of the most powerful images that her poems have left in your mind?
For Pinkie Gordon Lane, the title of "first" has spanned her professional career. She was the first black woman to receive a doctorate from Louisiana State University in 1956 and the first black poet laureate of Louisiana, an honor she held from 1989-92. Described as "a poet of lyric space," Lane and her work have garnered awards and praise, and she has been inducted into the Louisiana Black History Hall of Fame and has been cited for her work as an educator, poet and humanist by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English. Representative of one of the quieter strains of poetry over the past two decades, the English professor emerita of Southern University in Baton Rouge has found a wide audience for her volumes of poems, Wind Thoughts (1972), The Mystic Female (1978), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1979, I Never Scream: New and Selected Poems (1985), and Girl at the Window (1991). Some of her poems first appeared in such periodicals as Callaloo, Journal of Black Poetry, Ms. Magazine, Negro American Literature Forum, Nimrod, Obsidian, The Black Scholar and The Southern Review. Her forthcoming book is titled Elegy for Etheridge.
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