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American Passages: A Literary Survey

Poetry of Liberation – Timeline


– Adrienne Rich, A Change of World (1951), “Storm Warnings” (1951), “Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law” (1958)
– Allen Ginsberg, Howl (1956), “Sunflower Sutra” (1956), “A Supermarket in California” (1956), Kaddish (1959)
– John Ashbery, “Illustration” (1956)
– Gary Snyder, “Milton by Firelight” (1959), “Riprap” (1959)
Korean War (1950-53)
Heyday of McCarthyism (1953-54)
U.S. Supreme Court bans school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus, sparks Montgomery bus boycott (1955) Supreme Court rules that bus segregation is illegal (1956)
Voting Rights Bill passed by Congress (1957)
President Eisenhower sends U.S. Army troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce desegregation in public schools (1957)
The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into space (1957)


– John Ashbery, “Europe” (1960)
– Allen Ginsberg, “To Aunt Rose” (1961)
– Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963), Ariel (1965)
– James Wright, “Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio” (1963), “A Blessing” (1963), “To the Evening Star: Central Minnesota” (1963), “The Minneapolis Poem” (1968)
– Amiri Baraka, Dutchman (1964), “An Agony. As Now.” (1964), “A Poem for Willie Best” (1964) Audre Lorde, “Coal” (1968) Gary Snyder, “Beneath My Hand and Eye the Distant Hills. Your Body” (1968), “The Blue Sky” (1969)
– Adrienne Rich, Leaflets (1969)
Greensboro sit-in protests begin (1960)
Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (1963)
President John F. Kennedy assassinated (1963)
Civil Rights Act (1964)
Vietnam War (1964-75)
Malcolm X assassinated (1965)
Voting Rights Act (1965)
Black Panther Party for Self Defense founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale (1965)
Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated (1968)
U.S. astronauts make first moon landing (1969)

[5683] Anonymous, Allen Ginsberg At Madame Nhu Protest, 1963 (1963) courtesy of Allen Ginsberg Trust and the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries.


– John Ashbery, “Soonest Mended” (1970), “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” (1975), “And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name” (1977)
– Audre Lorde, “Black Mother Woman” (1971), “Chain” (1978), “Harriet” (1978)
– Adrienne Rich, The Will to Change (1971), “Diving into the Wreck” (1972), “Power” (1974), Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution (1976), “Transcendental Etude” (1977), “Twenty-One Love Poems” (1978)
– James Wright, Collected Poems (1971), “A Centenary Ode: Inscribed to Little Crow, Leader of the Sioux Rebellion in Minnesota, 1862” (1971), “With the Shell of a Hermit Crab” (1977)
Watergate scandal (1972-74)
Roe v. Wade; Supreme Court rules abortion is legal (1973)
President Richard Nixon resigns from office (1974)
Moral Majority founded (1979)
Iran hostage crisis (1979-81)

[6237] Gemini Rising, Inc., Clenched Fist On Red, Green, And Black Background (1971) courtesy of Library of Congress [LC-USZC4-4389].

[6190] Marcia Salo, I Am A Woman Giving Birth To Myself (1973) courtesy of the Library of Congress [CN POS 6-U.S., no. 306 (C size) <P&P7gt;] and the Times Change Press.