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Knees of a Natural Man

Knees of a Natural Man

Selected Poems

Henry Dumas
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"His work remains—a testimonial to his own committed love, his own sharp perceptiveness and zeal." — Gwendolyn Brooks


In 1968, a young Black man, Henry Dumas, went through a turnstile at a New York City subway station. A transit cop shot him in the chest and killed him. Circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear. Before that happened, however, he had written some of the most beautiful, moving, and profound poetry and fiction that I have ever in my life read. He was thirty-three years old when he was killed, but in those thirty-three years, he had completed work, the quality and quantity of which are almost never achieved in several lifetimes. He was brilliant. He was magnetic, and he was an incredible artist. — Toni Morrison

Edited and with an introduction by Eugene B. Redmond


Henry Dumas was born on July 20, 1934, in Sweet Home, Arkansas, and moved to Harlem at the age of ten. He graduated from Commerce High School and studied at City College in New York before a stint in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed on the Arabian Peninsula (which piqued his abiding interest in Arabic culture) and in San Antonio, Texas. Following discharge, Dumas attended Rutgers University, worked for a year at IBM, and taught at Southern Illinois University's Experiment in Higher Education in East St. Louis from 1967 to 1968. An editor, supporter of, and contributor to numerous small magazines, Dumas was also active in the Civil Rights Movement and a seminal force in the Black Arts Movement. On May 23, 1968, Dumas was shot and killed by a New York City Transit policeman in the subway.


  • Item Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • UNSPSC: 55101500
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1733273433
  • ISBN-13: 9781733273435
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Publisher: Flood Editions (October 30, 2020)
  • Language: English
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