"I Have Seen Black Hands"
This poem catalogs all of the tasks the speaker has seen black hands do. The repetition of the refrain contributes to the tone of the work, building through the catalog to a hopeful ending.
Walt Whitman's "I Sing the Body Electric"
Structurally Whitman's poem reflects a similar use of line length and anaphora; thematically, Wright and Whitman celebrate the significant achievements/features alongside the banal, both calling attention all parts of life.
Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing"
Philip Levine's "What Work Is"
Although Levine's poem may not be an exact thematic match, Wright's descriptions of what he sees black hands do always remind me of "What Work Is." Teaching these poems together provides interesting entry points into discussions of work, family, connection, isolation, etc.
Czeslaw Milosz's "A Song on the End of the World"
Milosz's poem, like Wright's poem, uses a refrain in order to structure the work. This rhetorical tool combines with the poetic diction to make the poems' larger arguments more persuasive.
William Carlos Williams' "To a Poor Old Woman"
Williams' poem repeats the line "they taste good to her" in such a manner that forces the reader to study the way in which the language works with or against the line breaks. These line breaks affect the reader's relationship to the refrain, placing new emphasis on the poor old woman each time.
Paul Lawrence Dunbar's "We Wear the Mask"
Walt Whitman's "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking"
Camille Dungy's "What to Eat, What to Drink, and What to Leave for Poison"