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Minor Notes

Minor Notes

Volume 1

Joshua Bennett
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The first volume in an anthology series that amplifies the voices of unsung Black poets to paint a more robust picture of our national past, and of the Black literary imagination, with a foreword by Tracy K. Smith

A Penguin Classic

Joshua Bennett and Jesse McCarthy repeatedly found themselves struck by the number of exciting poets they came across in long-out-of-print collections and forgotten journals whose work has been neglected or entirely ignored, even by scholars of Black poetry. Minor Notes is an excavation initiative that recovers and curates archival materials from these understudied, though supremely gifted, African American poets of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and aims to bridge scholarly interest with the growing general audience who reads, writes, and circulates poetry within that tradition. As Minor Notes clarifies, the work of contemporary Black poets is perhaps best understood through the lens of a long-standing tradition of the poet as witness, as prophetic voice, as communal bard, and as scholar of the everyday and the miraculous. The poets featured in Volume 1 are George Moses Horton, Fenton Johnson, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Henrietta Cordelia Ray, David Wadsworth Cannon Jr., Anne Spencer, and Angelina Weld Grimké.


Joshua Bennett is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He is the author: The Sobbing School (Penguin, 2016) a finalist for an NAACP Image Award, Property Once Myself (Harvard, 2020) and Owed (Penguin, 2020). He received the 2021 Whiting Award for Poetry and Nonfiction. His first work of narrative nonfiction, Spoken Word: A Cultural History, is forthcoming from Knopf in 2023.

Jesse McCarthy is assistant professor of English and African and African American studies at Harvard University. He is an editor at the Point and has written for n+1Dissent, the Nation, and the New Republic. His critically acclaimed essay collection Who Will Pay Reparations on My Soul? (Liveright 2021) was a NYT Editor's Choice.


  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (April 11, 2023)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0143137263
  • ISBN-13: 9780143137269
  • Item Weight: 7.1 ounces
  • Dimensions: 5.06 x 0.56 x 7.7 inches
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