Sunday, June 30, 2013

Poem-A-Day: The Banjo Player by Fenton Johnson

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The Banjo Player

There is music in me, the music of a peasant people.
I wander through the levee, picking my banjo and singing my songs of

   the cabin and the field. At the Last Chance Saloon I am as welcome

   as the violets in March; there is always food and drink for me there,

   and the dimes of those who love honest music. Behind the railroad

   tracks the little children clap their hands and love me as they love Kris


But I fear that I am a failure. Last night a woman called me a

   troubadour. What is a troubadour?




Today's poem is in the public domain.

About This Poem
Fenton Johnson wrote "The Banjo Player" as part of a series of persona poems entitled African Nights, which was intended to form the core of his fourth collection of poetry. The finished collection, however, was never published.
Anthology Featuring Johnson

(Signet Classics, 2001)







Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-A-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on weekdays and classic poems on weekends. Browse the Poem-A-Day Archive.
June 30, 2013

Fenton Johnson was born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 7, 1888. Johnson was a heavily anthologized poet, as well as a playwright and member of the Work Progress Administration's Federal Writers' Project during the Great Depression. He died in 1958.
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