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Naomi Long Madgett credits several literary giants from the Harlem Renaissance for encouraging her budding poetry.

Selected Bibliography

  • Adam of Ife: Black Women in Praise of Black Men. East Lansing, MI: Lotus Press, Inc., 1992.

  • A Milestone Sampler: 15th Anniversary Anthology. East Lansing, MI: Lotus Press, Inc., 1988.

  • Octavia and Other Poems. Chicago: Third World Press, 1988.

  • Pink Ladies in the Afternoon. East Lansing, MI: Lotus Press, Inc., 1990.

  • Phantom Nightingale. East Lansing, MI: Lotus Press, Inc., 1981.

  • Remembrances of Spring. East Lansing, MI: Lotus Press, 1993.

  • A Student's Guide to Creative Writing. East Lansing, MI: Lotus Press, 1980.

Discussion Questions

1. How does she use the imagery of the sun in her poem "Phillis"? Compare this poem with Samuel Allen's "Harriet Tubman."

2. She remembers a white teacher's saying, "If you've read one black poem, you've read them all." Is this true? Could the same be said of the white canon? Identify some characteristics of black poetry and discuss whether they cross racial lines.

3. Why is her nurturing of Lotus Press an important achievement? What impact has it had on black poetry?


Naomi Long Madgett, writer, editor, teacher and publisher, , has been the moving force behind Lotus Press, Inc., the leading publisher of distinguished poetry by African Americans. Responsible for the publication of 75 titles, she became senior editor of the Lotus Poetry Series of Michigan State University Press in 1993. An award-winning poet in her own right, Madgett has published seven collections of poetry including Pink Ladies in the Afternoon (1972, 1990), Exits and Entrances (1978), Phantom Nightingale: Juvenilia (1981), and Octavia and Other Poems (1988) which was national co-winner of the College Language Association Creative Achievement Award. Black Scholar Magazine gave her the Award of Excellence in 1992, and in 1993 the Hilton-Long Poetry Foundation offered its first annual Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award for excellence in a manuscript by an African American poet. Madgett's poems have been included in well over 100 anthologies in this country and abroad and have been translated into several languages. In 1998, she is an Artist in Residence at Western Michigan University.


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