Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Sterling D. Plumpp  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1940 in Clinton, Mississippi

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Illinois Connection

Plumpp 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

Sterling Plumpp is an African-American poet, editor, scholar and teacher. He was educated in Chicago at Benedictine College and Roosevelt University. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he served on the faculty in the African American Studies and English departments. Most recently, he served as a visiting professor in the Master of Fine Arts Program at Chicago State University.

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, the Carl Sandburg Litereary Award and the Fuller Award for Lifetime Achievement.

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.


Fuller Award for Lifetime Achievement, Chicago Literary Hall of Fame

Carl Sandburg Literary Award for Poetry, Friends of the Chicago Public Library

Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award

3 - Illinois Arts Council Awards

American Book Award

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes), contact author.

Selected Titles At Your Library

Black rituals /
ISBN: 0883780240. OCLC Number: 24253947

Third World Press,. .

Blues :
ISBN: 1882688201. OCLC Number: 41471704

Tia Chucha Press ;. .

"Sterling Plumpp's blues narratives are the first portions to be published of his ongoing work in progress, Mfua's Song. In order to discover and invent his own identity, he reaches back as far as the first ancestor of whom he can know - the woman Mfua, kidnapped in Africa, enslaved and brought to America. In this section of Mfua's Song, as twentieth-century Mary and Victor - portraits of the poet's mother and grandfather - tell their blues narratives, they not only live their own lives of pain, sorrow, dignity and love, but also embody aspects of Mfua that they bring down through the years with them and pass on to those in their care. Plumpp's blues narratives are a poetic form and a dialogue between poet and subject - they are unlike anything else in American poetry: a vital, passionate, haunting poetry meant to be read and spoken and sung."--BOOK JACKET.

Harriet Tubman
ISBN: 0883780534. OCLC Number: 123099688

Third World Press,. .

Describes the life of the abolitionist who was born into slavery and later became a conductor for the Underground Railroad.

Home/bass /
ISBN: 0883783452. OCLC Number: 867867758

. .

This book describes the myriad of folks that inhabit places like the up-South streets of Chicago or the unaltered roads of Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and other pockets inhabited by Blacks throughout the South. The author has lived with these folks--sharecroppers, preachers, misplaced Mississippi blues men and women.

Horn man /
ISBN: 0883781778. OCLC Number: 33013220

Third World Press,. .

Hornman officiates the pauses, whirlwinds and boptismal journey of saxophonist Von Freeman through the distinctive cadence of blues verse. Brilliantly linking his poetic vision with his insights into Black and blues culture, Sterling Plumpp provides lyrical access to the inner soul of Black-and-blues folk.--Page [4] of cover.

Jazz poems
ISBN: 1841597546. OCLC Number: 66255389

. .

Ever since its first flowering in the 1920s, jazz has had a powerful influence on American poetry, and this ... anthology offers a treasury of poems as varied and vital as the music that inspired them. From the Harlem Renaissance to the Beat movement, from the poets of the New York school to the contemporary poetry scene, the jazz aesthetic has been a compelling literary force--one that Jazz poems makes palpable. We hear it in the poems of Langston Hughes, e.e. Cummings, William Carlos Williams, Frank O'Hara, and Gwendolyn Brooks, and in those of Yusef Komunyakaa, Charles Simic, Rita Dove, Ntozake Shange, Mark Doty, and C.D. Wright. Here are poems that pay tribute to jazz's great voices, and poems that throb with the vivid rhythm and energy of the jazz tradition, ranging in tone from mournful elegy to sheer celebration.

ISBN: 9781528849319. OCLC Number: 1083550511

. .

6th December, 2013. Johannesburg. Gin has returned home from New York to throw a party for her mother's 80th birthday; a few blocks away, at the Residence, Nelson Mandela's family prepares to announce Tata Mandela's death. So begins 'Johannesburg', Fiona Melrose's searing second novel. Responsive to Virginia Woolf's 'Mrs Dalloway', the story follows a polyphonic course across a single day, culminating in a party and traces the fractures and connections of the city.

Johannesburg & other poems /
ISBN: 0929968336. OCLC Number: 28112295

Another Chicago Press ;. .

"A poetic and autobiographical fusing of three landscapes: the poet's native Mississippi, Chicago, and South Africa where Sterling Plumpp travelled in 1992. Plumpp paints here stunning and lyrical parallels between Black lives in the US and Black lives in South Africa. Through the prism of the blues Plumpp sees sharecroppers, maids, and the struggle for civil rights on two continents. Like a blues song, Johannesburg is a work where the reader may find a tragic, and often comic, common humanity as composed and sung by a master."--Jacket.

Ornate with smoke /
ISBN: 0883781980. OCLC Number: 37001424

Third World Press,. .

Paul robeson.
ISBN: 0883780658. OCLC Number: 948025905

Third World,. .

Somehow we survive :
ISBN: 0938410016. OCLC Number: 8114629

Thunder's Mouth Press,. .

The 100 best African American poems :
ISBN: 9781402221118. OCLC Number: 432979687

. .

Contains one hundred poems from classic and contemporary African American poets, as selected by an award-winning black poet and activist, including such writers as Robert Hayden, Mari Evans, Kevin Young, and Rita Dove.

The Mojo hands call, I must go /
ISBN: 0938410040. OCLC Number: 8589076

Thunder's Mouth Press,. .

Velvet be-bop kente cloth /
ISBN: 0883782421. OCLC Number: 51566479

Third World Press,. .