Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Henry Dumas  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1934 in Sweet Home, Arkansas

Died: 1968 in New York

-- Henry Dumas on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Dumas became a teacher-counselor and director of language workshops at Southern Illinois University's Experiment in Higher Education in 1967 in East St. Louis.

Biographical and Professional Information

Henry Dumas had a varied career. He was a Contributor, editor, publisher, and distributor for various literary magazines. Dumas worked at SIU under the direction of Dr. Edward W. Crosby, who was also an editor of the Hiram Review at the time. Some of Dumas' early work was published in the Hiram Review, which is likely how the two became acquainted. Dumas also became an editor of the Hiram Review from 1967 until his death in 1968.

After Dumas' untimely death Dr. Crosby returned to the editorial staff of the Hiram Review and urged Eugene Redmond, one of Dumas' fellow teachers and poet, to talk to Loretta Dumas about publishing Henry's works posthumously. Arrangements were made and with the editorial assistance of Hale Chatfield, founder of the Hiram Poetry Review, his works were published by SIU Press.

Published Works

  • Ark of Bones and Other Stories, Random House, 1974
  • Jonoah & the Green Stone , Random House, 1978
  • Rope of Wind And Other Stories, Random House, 1979
  • Goodbyb Sweetwater, TBS The Book Service, 1988
  • The Knees of a Natural Man: Collected Poetry , Thunder's Mouth Press , 1989
  • Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas , Cofee House Press, 2003

Selected Titles At Your Library

Ark of bones and other stories /
ISBN: 0394709470. OCLC Number:

. .

Jonoah and the green stone /
ISBN: 0394497910. OCLC Number:

Random House,. New York :. ©1976.

The hauntingly beautiful story of a young black man from Arkansas trying to deal with the turbulence of the sixties.

Rope of wind and other stories /
ISBN: 0394505298. OCLC Number:

Random House,. New York :. ©1979.

Knees of a natural man :
ISBN: 0938410741. OCLC Number:

Thunder's Mouth Press ;. New York :. ©1989.

Echo tree :
ISBN: 1566891493. OCLC Number:

Coffee House Press,. Minneapolis, MN :. ©2003.

Henry Dumas's fabulist fiction is a masterful synthesis of myth and religion, culture and nature, mask and identity. From the Deep South to the simmering streets of Harlem, his characters embark on surreal and mythic quests armed with only their wit, their words, and their wisdom. With an astonishing ear for language, Dumas creates a mythology of the psychological, spiritual, and political development of African American culture by interweaving elements of Christian metaphor, African tradition, southern folklore, American music and America's history of slavery and endemic racism. For the first time, all of Dumas's short fiction is collected here, including several previously unpublished stories.