Poems of Cabin and Field
- Dunbar, Paul Laurence

Poets Featured with External Resources

Other Works in the Collection by the Photographer(s)

Related Books by Photographic Process

Commentary

The first of Dunbar’s six photographically illustrated volumes of poetry, Poems of Cabin and Field (1899) sets the tone for the remaining five, depicting aspects of African American domestic life and material culture. These six volumes comprise half of Dunbar’s output of published poetry, and ‘remain,’ as Ray Sapirstein has highlighted, ‘defining monuments of text and image in the history of African American letters and US publishing.’ (Ray Sapirstein, ‘Picturing Dunbar’s Lyrics,’ African American Review, vol. 41, no. 2 (2007), pp.327-339, p.327.) The books contain a total of 450 images and represent a significant body of published photographs of African Americans, becoming possible through refinements in half-tone printing in the 1890s. Dunbar collaborated with the Hampton Institute Camera Club, who illustrated and designed the volumes, with one member, Leigh Richmond Miner, becoming a key figure from When Malindy Sings (1903) onwards. As Sapirstein suggests, though Dunbar did not himself pioneer the photopoetic form – rather, his books conformed to the typical structure found in virtually all photopoetry to this point, that of one stanza or short poem per photograph – many subsequent African American poets and photographers such as Langston Hughes, Roy de Carava, and Gordon Parks collaborated on photographically illustrated books of poetry, following, it would seem, in Dunbar’s footsteps. (Sapirstein, ‘Picturing Dunbar’s Lyrics,’ p.327.)

Book Details

Author: Dunbar, Paul Laurence
Title: Poems of Cabin and Field
Publication Year: 1899
Poets Featured: Dunbar, Paul Laurence
Photographers Featured: Hampton Institute Camera Club

This book can be found on the Internet Archive HERE

Related Books by Subject

Related Books by Time Period

L’il Gal (1904)