Access to the full text of the entire article is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.


Tolson, Melvin B. (1898–1966) By Capogna, Frank

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM2034-1
Published: 15/10/2018
Retrieved: 17 April 2024, from


Melvin Beaunorus Tolson was a poet, journalist, and teacher whose literary work examines the conditions for black life and art from the African diaspora through the throes of the Civil Rights Movement in his contemporary America. Although most of his major poetry volumes were published following the Second World War, Tolson thought of his work as a continuation of the modernist project in an African American idiom: he would pronounce his intentions just so, to ‘visit a land unvisited by Mr. Eliot’ (qtd in Dove 1999, xi). His poetry looks thematically, aesthetically, and critically at the institutional heritage of high modernism and other dominant Anglo-European cultural forms in order to locate a place for African American artistic production within—rather than in a space apart from—otherwise hierarchical high art cultures in the first half of the twentieth century.

content locked



Article DOI



Citing this article:

Capogna, Frank. Tolson, Melvin B. (1898–1966). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

Copyright © 2016-2024 Routledge.