Lorenzo Thomas - Writers, Career and Childhood

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Lorenzo Thomas's Personal Details

Lorenzo Thomas was an American poet who incorporated the infamous African-American culture of the 1960s and 1970s into his writing

InformationDetail
BirthdayAugust 31, 1944
Died onJuly 4, 2005
NationalityAmerican
FamousAfrican American Authors, Writers, Poets
Universities
  • Queens College
  • City University of New York
Birth PlacePanama
GenderMale
Sun SignVirgo
Born inPanama
Famous asPoet
Died at Age60

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Lorenzo Thomas's photo

Who is Lorenzo Thomas?

Lorenzo Thomas was an eminent American poet and literary figure. He gained popularity through his honest and cutting edge writing on his personal experiences during the African-American artistic movement. His childhood was marked by an easy life, with the exception of the local kids bullying him on his Spanish language, which motivated him to master English later on. It was during his college days that he became a member of the Umbra workshop where he befriended various upcoming black poets and got familiar with the culture, music, and cinema prevailing in the African-American era of the 1960s and 1970s, which formed a major part of his poetry collections and other scholarly works. His works mostly dealt with issues in Vietnam and civil rights movement. Some of his distinguished works included ‘Chances Are Few’, ‘Dancing on Main Street’, ‘The Bathers’, ‘Extraordinary Measures: Afrocentric Modernism and Twentieth-Century American Poetry’, and ‘Don’t Deny My Name: Words and Music and the Black Intellectual Tradition’. A number of his works got published in different journals, such as Living Blues, Popular Music and Society, African American Review, Arrowsmith, and others. Apart from his literary career, he served in the Navy in Vietnam and worked at Texas Southern University and University of Houston-Downtown, for over 20 years

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Childhood & Early Life

Lorenzo Thomas was born on August 31, 1944, in the Republic of Panama, to a pharmacist father and a community activist mother.

The family migrated to New York City in 1948, when he was four, and lived in the Bronx and Queens.

He graduated from Queens College, New York City, in 1968.

Career

While studying at Queens College, he actively participated in the Umbra workshop, along with other members such as David Henderson, Tom Dent, Ishmael Reed, and Larry Neal, which greatly influenced his poetry.

He was actively involved in the Black Arts Movement in New York City, which familiarized him with its political and racial rights struggle as well as the black music, American popular culture, and cinema of that era.

Some of his early poetry collections included ‘A Visible Island’ (1966), ‘Dracula’ (1973), and ‘Framing the Sunrise’ (1975).

After graduating, he joined the Navy as a military advisor in 1971 and got posted in Vietnam.

He quit the Navy in 1973 and relocated to Houston where he was appointed as writer-in-residence at Texas Southern University (TSU).

At TSU, he was responsible for editing the magazine ‘Roots’ and conducting writing workshops for the artists-in-the-schools program, at the newly-established Black Arts Center.

In 1984, he left TSU and joined University of Houston-Downtown as an English professor, where he taught for over two decades and served as the Director of its Cultural Enrichment Center.

He was involved in organizing Juneteenth Blues Festival in Houston and other cities of Texas.

His poems, such as ‘Dirge for Amadou Diallo’, ‘Coffles’, and ‘Psalm’ reflected the violence suffered by Africans in America during the 1960s.

His last works ‘Extraordinary Measures: Afrocentric Modernism and Twentieth-Century American Poetry’ (2000) and ‘Don’t Deny My Name: Words and Music and the Black Intellectual Tradition’ (2008) reflected the African-American culture.

He published his literary works in various journals, like Living Blues, Arrowsmith, Blues Unlimited (England), African American Review, Ploughshares, among others.

Apart from writing book reviews for Houston Chronicle, he also submitted scholarly articles to American Literary Scholarship, Dictionary of Literary Biography, African American Encyclopedia, and Gulliver (Germany).

Major Works

Among his most popular poetry collections were ‘Chances Are Few’ (1979), whose expanded second edition was released in 2003, and ‘Dancing on Main Street’ (2004).

His other well-known books are ‘The Bathers’, ‘Es Gibt Zeugen’, and ‘Sing the Sum Up: Creative Writing Ideas from African-American Literature’.

Awards & Achievements

His ‘Extraordinary Measures: Afrocentric Modernism and Twentieth-Century American Poetry’ won the Choice Outstanding Academic Book for the year 2000.

He was honored with the Houston Festival Foundation Award and received the National Endowment for the Arts grant.

Personal Life & Legacy

He suffered from emphysema and died on July 4, 2005, in Texas Medical Center Hospice, at the age of 60.

Trivia

Since Spanish was his native language, this American poet had a hard time dealing with kids (during childhood), who found his communication funny. As such, he struggled to become fluent in English, which caught his interest in creative writing.

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Lorenzo Thomas awards

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American Book Awards

Lorenzo Thomas biography timelines

  • // 31st Aug 1944
    Lorenzo Thomas was born on August 31, 1944, in the Republic of Panama, to a pharmacist father and a community activist mother.
  • // 1948
    The family migrated to New York City in 1948, when he was four, and lived in the Bronx and Queens.
  • // 1966 To 1975
    Some of his early poetry collections included ‘A Visible Island’ (1966), ‘Dracula’ (1973), and ‘Framing the Sunrise’ (1975).
  • // 1968
    He graduated from Queens College, New York City, in 1968.
  • // 1971
    After graduating, he joined the Navy as a military advisor in 1971 and got posted in Vietnam.
  • // 1973
    He quit the Navy in 1973 and relocated to Houston where he was appointed as writer-in-residence at Texas Southern University (TSU).
  • // 1979 To 2004
    Among his most popular poetry collections were ‘Chances Are Few’ (1979), whose expanded second edition was released in 2003, and ‘Dancing on Main Street’ (2004).
  • // 1984
    In 1984, he left TSU and joined University of Houston-Downtown as an English professor, where he taught for over two decades and served as the Director of its Cultural Enrichment Center.
  • // 2000 To 2008
    His last works ‘Extraordinary Measures: Afrocentric Modernism and Twentieth-Century American Poetry’ (2000) and ‘Don’t Deny My Name: Words and Music and the Black Intellectual Tradition’ (2008) reflected the African-American culture.
  • // 2000
    His ‘Extraordinary Measures: Afrocentric Modernism and Twentieth-Century American Poetry’ won the Choice Outstanding Academic Book for the year 2000.
  • // 4th Jul 2005
    He suffered from emphysema and died on July 4, 2005, in Texas Medical Center Hospice, at the age of 60.

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Lorenzo Thomas's FAQ

  • What is Lorenzo Thomas birthday?

    Lorenzo Thomas was born at 1944-08-31

  • When was Lorenzo Thomas died?

    Lorenzo Thomas was died at 2005-07-04

  • Which age was Lorenzo Thomas died?

    Lorenzo Thomas was died at age 60

  • Where is Lorenzo Thomas's birth place?

    Lorenzo Thomas was born in Panama

  • What is Lorenzo Thomas nationalities?

    Lorenzo Thomas's nationalities is American

  • What was Lorenzo Thomas universities?

    Lorenzo Thomas studied at Queens College, City University of New York

  • What is Lorenzo Thomas's sun sign?

    Lorenzo Thomas is Virgo

  • How famous is Lorenzo Thomas?

    Lorenzo Thomas is famouse as Poet