Ode to a Drum Historical Context

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Komunyakaa is a product of the segregated Deep South. As a young boy who loved to read, growing up in rural Louisiana in the 1950s and 1960s, he was not allowed into the public libraries or many other public places, because of his race. The one cultural form of expression he had direct access to was music, through his mother's radio, and it was through that contact that he came to love jazz and the blues. And as he advanced in his writing career, those influences, along with his reading of African and African American literature and history, came to play major roles in his verse. Poets like Langston Hughes and Amiri Baraka, both known for the ways they fused music with their poetry, came to influence Komunyakaa's work significantly.

"Ode to a Drum" is very much a reflection of Komunyakaa's experiences and influences. In it, the influences...

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This section contains 466 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ode to a Drum Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Ode to a Drum from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.