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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

THE SPRING CRICKET CONSIDERS THE QUESTION OF NEGRITUDE, by         Recitation by Author     Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"The Spring Cricket Considers the Question of Negritude" is a poem by Rita Dove, published in her collection "On the Bus with Rosa Parks" in 1999. Dove is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet and writer who served as the United States Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995.


The poem is written from the perspective of a spring cricket who is contemplating the question of Negritude, which refers to the concept of black consciousness and cultural awareness among people of African descent. The cricket wonders what it means to be black, and reflects on the history of slavery and the struggles of African Americans throughout history.

The cricket imagines itself as a slave, and describes the experience of being captured and forced to work on a plantation. It then reflects on the legacy of slavery, and the ongoing struggle for racial equality in the United States.

Poetic Elements:

  • Structure: The poem consists of three stanzas, each with varying numbers of lines. The stanzas are not uniform in structure, but each one focuses on a different aspect of the poem's themes.
  • Tone: The tone of the poem is contemplative and reflective, as the cricket considers the complex issues surrounding race and identity.
  • Imagery: The use of imagery in the poem is powerful, with vivid descriptions of the cricket's imagined experience as a slave. The image of the slave ship "spilling its cargo" is particularly striking.
  • Metaphor: The cricket is used as a metaphor for the African American experience, highlighting the struggles and injustices faced by this community throughout history.


"The Spring Cricket Considers the Question of Negritude" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores complex issues of race and identity. Through the use of vivid imagery and metaphor, Dove invites the reader to contemplate the ongoing struggle for racial equality in the United States, and to consider the legacy of slavery and its impact on African Americans. The poem is a testament to Dove's skill as a poet, and her ability to tackle important social and political issues through her writing.

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