the African-American experience, both historical and contemporary
o Universal themes like love, death, time, etc.
o Racial themes like identity, pride, oppression, and resistance
• Style: two dominant styles:
o emulation of traditional poetic style (elevated and formal diction)
o experimentation with new style, especially the African-American vernacular
• Form: two dominant forms:
o use of traditional forms of Romantic poetry, especially the sonnet and the ballad.
o experimentation with new forms and rhythms, like jazz, bebop, and free verse.
o Oral Tradition: Slave Songs, Hymns, Storytelling
o Music: blues, be-bop, and jazz
o Traditional poetry: sonnets, other forms