Etheridge Knight

Etheridge Knight (1931 - 1991)

Etheridge Knight (b. April 19, 1931, Corinth, Mississippi–d. March 10, 1991, Indianapolis) was an African-American poet who burst onto the scene in 1968 with his debut volume, Poems from Prison. The book recalls in verse his eight-year-long sentence after Etheridge was arrested for robbery in 1960. A prose version was published in Italian as Voce negre dal carcere, and in English as Black Voices from Prison (1970), which includes other prisoners’ writings.

Belly Song and Other Poems (1973) dealt with themes of racism and love. Knight believed the poet was a “meddler” or intermediary between the poem and the reader. He elaborated on this concept in his 1980 work Born of a Woman. The Essential Etheridge Knight (1986) is a compilation of Knight’s work.

Knight was married to fellow poet Sonia Sanchez.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Etheridge Knight's poem Hard Rock Returns To Prison From The Hospital For The Criminal Insane


  1. Shannon Dale-Adams says:

    Just a reference for Rhonda, these men were not in a hospital, they were in prison…The “screws” were the correctional officers. Read it again and consider the civil rights violations these men had yet to receive as the laws were not enacted until 1970.

  2. Ronda says:

    I have never heard of E.Knight until about aweek ago. I am so pleased to read his poems and this one encouraged me to read more on him and his work. I have also made home adjustments for my teenager and his “TEENAGER” attitude to write down his feelings journal them. I also write poems and journal my feelings and thoughts and concerns have been doing so for 14 years it really works not that it all makes since when you go back read it and i can almost feel the feelings all overt again. This poem to me was very strong i also like “straight up” talk just give it to me straight and frank. this poem i felt like i was in the hospital with the other “screws” I felt as if i was waiting for Hard Rock to act out. this was exciting to me interesting and I wish our Literature teachers would teach us more poets and authors of color. Give our children hope to that ther eis an escape from these streets and poverty. GREAt!

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