Howdy, Honey, Howdy
- Dunbar, Paul Laurence

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Commentary

The penultimate volume of Dunbar’s photographically illustrated oeuvre, Howdy, Honey, Howdy (1905) continues with much of the humour seen in previous volumes, yet the stirrings of discontent and resentment begin to manifest themselves in ways hitherto unseen in the photographic volumes. Heisel identifies a tonal shift in the last two volumes of Dunbar’s photographically illustrated work, and suggests, broadly, that Howdy, Honey, Howdy and Joggin’ Erlong ‘present a steady dose of fatalism as their narrators describe their inability to affect the course of their lives.’ (Heisel, ‘“Southern Negro types,”’ p.252.) Certainly, the ordering of photopoems does not offer the relief of previous volumes, and the photographs, alone, are tonally much less light than in previous volumes. Heisel’s close reading of the relationship between text and image again provides a good introduction to the racial politics of the volume, with the idea of ‘types’ still prevalent. Heisel focuses on the poem ‘Dreamin’ Town’, in which the final photograph of a rickety cabin undercuts, with harsh realism, the narrator’s dreams of streets “paved with gol’” where the days are “never col.’” (Heisel, ‘“Southern Negro types,”’ p.254.)

Book Details

Author: Dunbar, Paul Laurence
Title: Howdy, Honey, Howdy
Publication Year: 1905
Poets Featured: Dunbar, Paul Laurence
Photographers Featured: Miner, Leigh Richmond

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