From Carolyn Rodger’s obituary in the New York Times: April 19, 2010
By Bruce Weber
Carolyn Rodgers, a leading poet of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s whose work wove strands of feminism, black power, spirituality and writerly self-consciousness into a sometimes raging, sometimes ruminative search for identity, died on April 2 in Chicago. She was 69.
The cause was cancer, said her sister Nina R. Gordon.
A student of Gwendolyn Brooks and a contemporary of Nikki Giovanni, Ms. Rodgers first came to prominence with poems that were strident, militant and experimental free-verse declarations of collective black anger and a black woman’s selfhood, written in street language replete with profanities and vernacular spellings.
The poems reflected the philosophy of the Black Arts Movement, begun in the mid-’60s by Amiri Baraka, Ms. Brooks and others as the aesthetic complement to the political black power movement. But from the beginning her work was infused with a sense of the poet as a unique individual with singular passions.
Dark-skinned and statuesque, Ms. Rodgers was a dynamic reader of her own poems and a commanding figure at the coffeehouse gatherings that fueled the Black Arts Movement in Chicago. She was also an influential theoretician who spoke and wrote about the black aesthetic in poetry.