Bronze: A Book of Verse
Georgia Douglas Johnson
Bronze (1922) is a collection of poetry by Georgia Douglas Johnson. As Johnson’s second published volume, Bronze is an invaluable work of African American literature for scholars and poetry enthusiasts alike. Comprised of some of Johnson’s best poems, and graced with a foreword by W.E.B. Du Bois, Bronze showcases her sense of the musicality of language while illuminating the experiences of African American women of the early twentieth century.“Don’t knock at my heart, little one, / I cannot bear the pain / Of turning deaf-ear to your call / Time and time again!” This poem, titled “Black Woman,” contains the tragic lament of a woman for whom motherhood would mean exposing her child to the cruelties of a racist world. “You do not know the monster men / Inhabiting the earth. / Be still, be still, my precious child, / I must not give you birth.” Far from denying life, this black woman knows that the life of a black child would be precious only to her, and that she would lack the ability to defend her “little one” from violence and hatred. Despite this bleak vision, Johnson also foresees a time of peace, a world in which “All men as one beneath the sun” will live “In brotherhood forever.” Throughout this collection, Johnson shows an efficiency with language and ear for music that make her an essential, underappreciated artist of the Harlem Renaissance. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Georgia Douglas Johnson’s Bronze is a classic of African American literature reimagined for modern readers.