World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Owen Dodson

Article Id: WHEBN0003075780
Reproduction Date:

Title: Owen Dodson  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Hilton Als, Shauneille Perry, Dodson, Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, List of playwrights from the United States
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Owen Dodson

Owen Vincent Dodson (November 28, 1914 – June 21, 1983) was an American poet, novelist, and playwright. He was one of the leading African-American poets of his time, associated with the generation of black poets following the Harlem Renaissance.[1]

Contents

  • Biography 1
  • Works 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5

Biography

Born in Brooklyn, New York, USA, Dodson studied at Bates College (B.A. 1936) and at the Yale School of Drama (M.F.A. 1939). He taught at Howard University, where he was chair of the Drama Department, from 1940 to 1970, and briefly at Spelman College and Atlanta University.[2] James V. Hatch has explained that Dodson "is the product of two parallel forces—the Black experience in America with its folk and urban routes, and a classical humanistic education."[3]

Dodson's poetry varied widely and covered a broad range of subjects, styles, and forms. He wrote at times, though rarely, in black dialect, and at others quoted and alluded to classical poetry and drama. He wrote about religion and about sexuality—he was gay, though he was briefly engaged to Priscilla Heath, a Bates classmate.[2] One critic describes him as "a brilliant, gay man who discovered his sexual preference early in life, but who was nevertheless unlucky and unhappy in several ill-fated relationships."[4]

He was closely associated with poets W. H. Auden and William Stanley Braithwaite, but his influences were difficult to pin down. In an interview with Charles H. Rowell, he said:

Well, every writer, at the beginning of his career, is influenced by somebody. Surely it's true that the ragtime rhythms of Langston Hughes and the order of Countee Cullen, his devotion to the church, have influenced me. But you know if you listen to Bach and then listen to the early Haydn you can see a cross between the two--you can see that Bach was influenced by Haydn. Then, if you listen to Haydn at his maturity and then listen to Beethoven, then you can see that Beethoven was influenced at the beginning of his career. And if you listen to the greatest Beethoven and then you listen to the early Brahms, you can see that the early Brahms was influenced by the later Beethoven. Then he became his own style. He got his own idea of life. You admire your father, and you imitate his gestures and his stance--the way he talks, the way he holds his glass, the way he kisses his wife. There is something about him that influences you. But then as you grow older, you begin to get your own style, your own class, your own idea of what is going on. Oh, yes, it's true that Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen influenced me.[5]

In drama, he cited

  • Tribute by Howard University English Department.

External links

  • Oxford Companion to African American Literature: Owen Dodson
  • Joe Weixlmann, "The Rungs of a Powerful Long Ladder: An Owen Dodson Bibliography", Black American Literature Forum 14 (Summer 1980): 60–68.

Further reading

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c Hatch, James V. Sorrow is the Only Faithful One: The Life of Owen Dodson. (Illinois, 1993).
  3. ^ Hatch, "The Alchemy of Owen Dodson," Black American Literature Forum, Vol. 14, No. 2. (Summer, 1980), 51.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Rowell, Charles H. "An Interview with Owen Dodson," Callaloo 20,3 (1997).
  6. ^

References

  • Boy at the Window (1951)
  • Come Home Early, Child (1967)

Novels:

  • Bayou Legend
  • Divine Comedy
  • Till Victory Is Won
  • New World A-Coming
  • Garden of Time (1945)
  • The Confession Stone (1960)

Plays:

  • Powerful Long Ladder (1940)
  • The Confession Stone: Song Cycles (1970)
    • Poems from The Confession Stone were set to music by composer Robert Fleming (1968).
  • The Harlem Book of the Dead (1978). Collaboration with photographer James Van Der Zee and artist Camille Billops.

Poetry:

Works

Dodson is one of the subjects of Hilton Als' 1996 book The Women; according to Als, Dodson was his mentor and lover.[1][6]

Dodson died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 69.

[2] Dodson's two novels are generally considered to be autobiographical.[5]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.