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About this poet

Born in Baltimore in 1935, Sam Cornish was educated at Goddard College and Northwestern University. Associated with the Black Arts Movement, he is the author of more than half a dozen collections of poetry, including Folks Like Me (Zoland Books, 1993), Dead Beats (Ibbetson Street Press, 2011), and An Apron Full of Beans: New and Selected Poems (CavanKerry, 2008). He is the former poet laureate of the city of Boston.

Spring 1931

Northern black
boy traveling
with empty belly;
these are the American
blues,
shanties, and fine
big houses, a sad
song
on a poor man’s tongue
land of cotton and trouble
night sweet as dusk
on its gentle people
until today,
when
Scottsboro
was just a place
where the train
had to stop
and the Southern
night
was beautiful
I traveled
hungry
from Memphis to Georgia
drinking my whiskey
and
singing my blues

From Folks Like Me (Zoland Books, 1993) by Sam Cornish. Copyright © 1993 by Sam Cornish. Used with permission of the author.

From Folks Like Me (Zoland Books, 1993) by Sam Cornish. Copyright © 1993 by Sam Cornish. Used with permission of the author.

Sam Cornish

Sam Cornish

Born in Baltimore in 1935, Sam Cornish was educated at Goddard College and Northwestern University. Associated with the Black Arts Movement, he is the author of more than half a dozen collections of poetry, including Folks Like Me (Zoland Books, 1993), Dead Beats (Ibbetson Street Press, 2011), and An Apron Full of Beans: New and Selected Poems (CavanKerry, 2008). He is the former poet laureate of the city of Boston.