"A signal event in the history of the music." — Ted Gioia, author of The Delta Blues Musicologist and writer Samuel Charters (1929–2015) considered blues lyrics a profound cultural expression that could connect all people who love poetry. A pioneer in the exploration of world music, Charters conducted research that brought obscure musicians of the American South and Appalachia into the mainstream. In this landmark volume, the noted blues historian and folklorist presents a rich exploration of blues songs as folk poetry, quoting lyrics by such legends as Son House and Lightnin' Hopkins at length to reveal the depth of feeling and complex literary forms at work within a unique art form. Originally published in 1963, The Poetry of the Blues raised interest in many previously unrecognized aspects of African-American music and made a significant contribution to the blues revival of the 1960s. This volume features now-vintage black-and-white photographs by Ann Charters from the original edition.