Introduction: Toward a Vernacular Theory of African American Poetry -- Ch. 1. Mother Tongue: African American Vernacular Speech as Poetic Language -- Ch. 2. Orality: Language and Voice -- Ch. 3. The Poetry of Preachment: Didacticism in African American Poetry -- Ch. 4. Song/Talk: African American Music and Song as Poetic References -- Ch. 5. Tell My Story: Boast and Toast Traditions -- Ch. 6. "Black Is ... and Black Ain't": Of Gender and Generations in African American Poetry.