Sterling Plumpp

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General Information

Name: Sterling Plumpp

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Born: 1940 in Clinton, Mississippi



Illinois Connection

Sterling attended Benedictine College and Roosevelt University in Chicago. He also went on to teach at the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Plumpp is an African-American poet, editor, scholar and teacher. He was educated in Chicago at Benedictine College and Roosevelt University. He also taught African American studies at the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois and became a full professor teaching both literature and creative writing. He retired from the University of Illinois at Chicago, with emeritus status after teaching there since 1971.

Plumpp is often called a "blues poet" because of the influence of blues music on the themes and rhythms of his poetry. He has received numerous awards for his work, among them the Richard Wright Litereary Excellence Award and the Carl Sandburg Litereary Award.

Plumpp has contributed to several publications including: To Gwen with Love with Patricia L. Brown, Don L. Lee, and Francis Ward in 1971 and The Otherwise Room with Joyce Jones, Mary McTaggart, and Maria Mootry in 1981. He also edited Somehow We Survive: An Anthology of South African Writing in 1981.

Published Works

  • Portable Soul, 1969
  • Half Black, Half Blacker, Third World Press, 1970
  • Muslim Men, Broadside Press, 1972
  • Black Rituals, Third World Press, 1972
  • Steps to Break the Circle, Third World Press, 1974
  • Portable Soul, Third World Press, 1974
  • Clinton, Broadside Press, 1976
  • The Mojo Hands Call, I Must Go, Thunder`s Mouth Press, 1982
  • Johannesburg & Other Poems, 1993
  • Hornman, Third World Press, 1996
  • The Ballad of Harriet Tubman, Third World Press, 1998
  • Ornate With Smoke, Third World Press, 1998
  • Paul Robeson, 1998
  • Blues Narratives, Tia Chucha, 1999
  • Velvet BeBop Kente Cloth, Third World Press, 2001
  • Harriet Tubman, Third World Press, 2005

Titles for Purchase and at Your Library

Portable soul,

Release Date: 1969

Half Black, half Blacker

Release Date: 1970


ISBN: 0883781778
Release Date: 1996-11-01

Find on World Cat

Ornate with Smoke

ISBN: 0883781980
Release Date: 1997-01-01

Find on World Cat

Blues Narratives

ISBN: 1882688201
Release Date: 1999-04-30

Find on World Cat

Velvet Bebop Kente Cloth

ISBN: 0883782421
Release Date: 2003-01-01

Find on World Cat

Literary Awards

  • Carl Sandburg Literary Award for poetry
  • Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award
  • 3 - Illinois Arts Council Awards

Speaking Engagements and Upcoming Appearances

Speaking Engagement Availability: Yes, contact author.

External Links

Sterling Plumpp on WorldCat

Sterling Plumpp on Amazon

Sterling Plumpp on


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