The title of the poem assigned this week has an interesting title. The provocation of this title would make a person want to see what details that the poem displays. Well, some people would want to understand the significance behind such a provocative title. Others’ normally stay clear of anything that could be this politically charged. The title of this week’s assigned poem is “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”.
The title alone tells the reader that the story is going to be about the African American history and possibly slavery. However, in the first line break it only speaks of rivers. It has a hard line break with colons. The “end stop” causes you to pause, but also signifies that a list is to follow. There are four stanza breaks in the poem. The first and last stanza break is followed by the sentence “My soul has grown deep like the river”. The sentence is stranded like an island and is obviously of significant importance.
The repetition and diction in the poem makes the theme of the poem clear and memorable. The African “knows rivers”. “Ancient rivers”. Rivers that are “older than the flow of human blood”. The “Euphrates” is the cradle of civilization in Babylon. The “Nile” transported the blocks of stone to the pyramids, which is one of the great wonders of the world. The “Mississippi” helped build America and still supports the thriving country today. A reader could choose to see the negative tone of the poem, which is slavery or the great impact Africans had on building the word around us.