Alabama

#throwbackthursday: “The Life and Poetry of John Beecher”

Nine years ago this month, in August 2009, The Life and Poetry of John Beecher was published. It was my third full-length publication, and at that time, it was the only work about Beecher ever published. Born in 1904, John Beecher was a poet, writer, editor, and social-justice activist from Birmingham, Alabama who worked as a Depression-era programs administrator, volunteered for the Navy’s first racially integrated ship during World War II, was blacklisted in the 1950s for refusing to sign a loyalty oath, then covered the Civil Rights movements as a journalist. His career as a poet thrived in the late 1960s and 1970s, and he passed away in 1980. Though his Collected Poems was issued by Macmillan in 1974, it went out of print shortly after his death, and Beecher was relegated to the ranks of “forgotten” poets, until NewSouth Books released a volume of selected poems titled One More River to Cross in 2003.


 

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