Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Poets and Poems: Benjamin Myers and “Black Sunday”

It began as a drought. Farmers in 1930 looked up at the sky and wondered where the clouds had gone, and with them, the rain. For an area the size of three-fourths of the state of Texas, including the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, the western half of Kansas, the eastern half of Colorado, and parts of Nebraska and New Mexico, the rain wouldn’t return until 1939. At times, most of the United States was affected by the drought, but no region experienced what the southern Plains went through.

Benjamin Myers
The land dried up. The wind blew. Dust storms reached the East Coast. By the end of the 1930s, some 2.5 million people had migrated west to escape what came to be called the Dust Bowl. It was the agricultural counterpoint to the Great Depression, and it was part of an era when hunger became familiar to millions of Americans.

Poet Benjamin Myers uses the 54 poems of Black Sunday to explain, interpret, and illustrate what happened in those years. You read these poems in somber stillness. You look out your window and consider what your own landscape would be with grass dead, gardens parched into sticks, the limbs of trees reaching upward like unanswered prayers.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry

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