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Books In Print
Adam of Ifè: Black Women in Praise of Black Men A Poet's Voice Connected Islands: New and Selected Poems
Exits and Entrances Octavia: Guthrie and Beyond  Pilgrim Journey
Pink Ladies In The Afternoon Remembrances of Spring Star by Star
A Student’s Guide to Creative Writing
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Adam of Ife: Black Women in Praise of Black Men
Edited by Naomi Long Madgett

ISBN: 0-916418-80-4

234 pages (paper)

Illustrated by Carl Owens


This unique and groundbreaking anthology contains positive poems about everyday African American men written by 55 black female poets. The insightful and informative introduction explains the historical reasons for the plight of many black men today. The poems show understanding, compassion, and support.

"Evocative and thought-provoking, the poems . . . effectively fill a void in black literature." (Sarah Sue Goldsmith, Baton Rouge Magazine)

"This exceptional anthology of poetry from 55 writers arrives at a most crucial time when the males of an entire race are in physical and spiritual jeopardy by design . . . . There are so many well-crafted pieces, startling in their clarity, that is is often difficult to affix them to their designed sections . . , . [They] rumbled through this reviewer like a springtime thunderstorm, eliciting strong responses and memories . . . . The women offer hope and solace." (Terri L. Jewell, Capital Times)

"This poetry overall is both accessible and accomplished. This is a valuable collection of voices that speak with strength, positive feeling, poetic passion . . . a surprising outpouring of' tribute considering the bleakness of the history in which African-American males have struggled to claim their identity." (Naomi S. Myrvaagnes, Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide)

"The reception of Adam of Ife demonstrates that African Americans are pausing to examine sexual politics and their impact on the black community. There is a growing determination to look beyond the frustration and to heal the scars caused by painful relationships. All sisters and brothers can identify the scars, but there are increasing numbers of people who believe that we can become empowered to resolve our conflicts." (Dr. Brenda Wall, clinical psychologist, as quoted by Toni Y. Joseph in The Dallas Morning News)

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A Poet’s Voice

Vander Films

(27 minutes)

1977 Columbia

Berkeley, MI 48072

(248) 542-8935


A documentary video based on Octavia and Other Poems. This film juxtaposes Madgett’s reading of some of the poems with ten artists’ interpretations and a cameo appearance by James Earl Jones. It includes still photographs of individuals and scenes in Guthrie, Oklahoma, as well as family photos. As in the title poem, “Octavia,” her aunt’s life is recreated from old letters, photos, and records. Madgett’s poetry speaks with lyric tenderness about her efforts to step out of her aunt’s shadow and into her own light.

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Connected Islands: New and Selected Poems


Naomi Long Madgett

ISBN: 0-916418-94-4p

99 pages .(paper)



"In her new and selected Connected Islands, Naomi Long Madgett examines and celebrates the bonds of family, friendship, faith and art to show that as much as we are alone, we are together. From the lives of heroes such as Phillis Wheatley and courageous visionaries of her own acquaintance to the dialectal hymns and prayers of hard-working African Americans, Madgett portrays the 'many faces of endurance.' These are poems of clarity and a resolute grace that, like her city seagulls, seek 'sustenance in [what is] discarded' by landing on 'posts of light.' A welcome, satisfying collection from Detroit's Poet Laureate whose elegant and insightful work continues undiminished into her ninth decade."     - Terry Blackhawk

"The poems of Naomi Long Madgett are like slivers of city life. Sirens and streetlights are balanced by blood memories and 'that universal something that makes us want to sing.' Gathered on the front porch at twilight or kneeling at the feet of Jesus, Naomi Madgett reminds us that the poet's most potent weapons are still love and truth and the stubborn inability to look away."     - Pearl Cleage

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Exits and Entrances

ISBN: 0-916418013-8

Illustrated by Beverley Rose Enright

69 pages, paper



More racially explicit than her earlier books, this volume speaks to its times in language that is quiet and meditative, yet impelling  and proactive. It demonstrates the author’s “ability to grasp an all-encompassing truth and mold it into a more familiar model.” (First World)   

 “This is a world that flows over and under a multiplicity of emotions and perceptions . . . . She turns us on with accurate portraits of life lived and crafts womanship that is often impeccable.”  (K. Cheatwood, Richmond News Leader

 “Amply demonstrates the quality of her literary skill and balance . . . deals from a position of undeniable strength.” (Tom Dent, Freedomways)

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Octavia:  Guthrie and Beyond 
Naomi Long Madgett

ISBN: 0-916418-91-X
81 pgs. (paper)    


Madgett's eighth collection of poems won a Creative Achievement Award from the College Language Association and is the basis of a documentary film (Vander Films) which won a Gold Apple Award of Excellence from the National Educational Media Network. First published by Third World Press as part of Octavia and Other Poems, this is a reprint of the book-length title poem, illustrated with old photographs, an added foreword and updated family information appended. Readers are rewarded by the artistry of the poetry and their sense of participation in the lives of the Long family members during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Octavia and Other Poems was made required reading in all Detroit public high schools.


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Pilgrim Journey

Autobiography by Naomi Long Madgett

ISBN: 0-916418-97-9

492 pages (Hard Cover)

Illustrated with 50 photos


"It is a pleasure indeed when a living legend shares with readers the path by which she arrived at that status. In Pilgrim Journey, Naomi Long Madgett invites readers to reminisce with her about the places, people, and events that have shaped her life. Having spent more than six decades creating, preserving, and perpetuating African American poetry, she is one of those rare individuals whose lives matter to a variety of people across a variety of enterprises. Pilgrim Journey allows insight into the brilliant but sensitive young girl who, through shaping in New Jersey, Missouri, Virginia, New York, and Michigan, emerged as one of the premier poets and publishers of the latter twentieth century. This recounting of Madgett's life and work is a must read for anyone interested in life stories and the shaping of Lotus Press, an institution that has been crucial to the development and perpetuation of African American poetry." -Trudier Harris, Ph.D., J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



'From the first page, Naomi Long Madgett's Pilgrim Journey immerses the reader in the family life and culture of a mostly unknown time and place in 20th century American history. Her archival genius gives us vast and thorough coverage, for example, of a middle class African American upbringing that, in spite of emotional difficulties, contradicts the deprivation that has been frequently portrayed. This' odyssey will be of great interest to poets, historians, sociologists, and the general reader interested in the heroic achievements of one woman through truly the best and worst of times." -Toi Demcotte, author of' award winning The Black Notebooks


"In Pilgrim Journey, Naomi Long Madgett retraces encounters with love, difficult marriages, racial prejudice, class conflict within the black community, and the curious satisfactions and disappointments of being a poet. Reaching back in her family history, this autobiography illuminates how African Americans built institutions and an intellectual tradition that Madgett has diligently served as Poet Laureate of Detroit and editor of a small poetry press. As she documents the demographics of her sojourn, we gain insight into the impetus and imagination of a poet, publisher, and professor who had the courage to invent her own space in a world indifferent to poetry, hostile to African American education, and often oblivious to the marvelous intellect of a black woman."

-Melba Joyce Boyd, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Wayne State University and author of Wrestling with the Muse. Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press

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Pink Ladies in the Afternoon

ISBN: 0-916418-78-2

76 pages (paper)

Second edition


 “A book of poems of swift moving beauty and intensity. The poems are beguiling, breathtaking, filled with anticipation and poignancy.” (Annabel Hawkins, CLA Journal)

 “She is a mature poet of seasoned sensibilities.” (Free Lance)

 “Our sister obviously took pain and patience to craft each rendition . . . . [The book] moves with supple grace.” (Black Books Bulletin)

 “Pulls our coats about the necessity of variety of introspection and response that gives life a modicum.”  (Jerry W. Ward, Hoodoo 5)

 “Naomi Madgett writes with easy skill in form from terzarima to elaborately invented stanzas to free verse . . . natural tones and rhythms.” (Small Press Review)

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Remembrances of Spring: Collected Early Poems

Published by and available from Michigan State University Press

181 pages, hard cover

 This collection combines Madgett’s first book, Songs to a Phantom Nightingale (1941) in its entirety, major portions of Phantom Nightingale: Juvenilia (1981), and all of One and the Many (1956), all of which have been out of print for many years. It begins with her insightful three-part introduction that tells of her early interest in poetry and her influences and includes the first published poem at age thirteen, progressing into her twentieth year. Included are several of her early photographs. These are not children’s poems; they would defy the reader who tried to guess her age at the time of composition. This collection serves as an inspiration to young poets who are just beginning to study their craft. However, Madgett was such an advanced young poet that this book can be appreciated on an adult level.

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Star by Star

ISBN: 0-916418-00-6

61 pages, paper



This is the fifth printing of a book first published by Harlo Press in 1965. Selections from it continue to be widely anthologized, especially in textbooks. It is still perhaps the most lyrical of Madgett’s collections.

 “Madgett proves she is a ‘natural poet’—vigorous, inventive, true.” (Betty DeRamus (Michigan Chronicle)

 “She has a remarkable keen ear.” (Negro Digest)

 “Represents the reappearance of semi-sound, for here the alphabet implies anthropocentric phonation.” (Black Literature in Review)

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A Student’s Guide to Creative Writing

Reprinted by and available from Michigan State University Press

139 pages, 8 1/2" X 11", paper

       Provides practical instruction on writing poetry and traditional short story writing. Unlike many college textbooks on creative writing, this one is short on theory and long on practical tips. The section on short stories includes blueprints for characterization, plotting,  dramatization, dialogue, flashbacks, and point of view.  The poetry section includes traditional versification, free verse, imagery, line breaks, differences between poetry and prose, and some pitfalls to avoid in the writing of effective poetry. Written with clarity, it is specific, detailed, and easy to follow. Both sections include stories and poems written by college students and points for evaluation.

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