Behind the Beat Look is a Sweet
Tongue and a Boogie Foot
(for those who see me as a tragic figure)
There is glee in my teeth, and mirth in my mouth.
My birth under the Mississippi sun so a boast,
A toast to my Black Daddy, Gandy-dancer, Master of the
Buck and Wing. The Skin and Grin.
But what you see might not be what you get.
Etheridge Knight, The Worcester Review, XIX, 1998, p. 131
A brief biography of Etheridge Knight (1931-1991), including his ties to Worcester, was written and published by David Shaw as part of an interactive student project. The biography is available here.
A more comprehensive look at Etheridge Knight is featured in The Worcester Review, Vol XIX 1&2 (1998) including his years in Worcester. The introduction by Editor Rodger Martin also lays out how his military record can not answer the question of Korean War service one way or another because a Vietnam War protest fire set at the Army Record Center in St. Louis destroyed significant portions of Knight’s military record.
In September 2018, the WCPA honored Knight by renaming the performance portion of the WCPA’s Annual College Poetry Contest. The “Etheridge Knight Performance Prize” is awarded to a single individual each year and includes a cash prize. College and universities in central Massachusetts chose a participant to represent the school at the event. Craig Blais of Anna Maria College is chairing the contest again this year.
Visit the Poetry Foundation page for Etheridge Knight
Worcester Telegram article regarding a local reading of Knight’s work.