Skip to main content

Brutus, Dennis Vincent

Dennis Vincent Brutus, 1924–2009, South African poet, b. Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe). Brutus grew up in South Africa and received (1947) his B.A. from the Univ. of Fort Hare in Alice. He taught high school from 1948 until 1962, when as a result of his political activism, notably his protests against all-white South African sports, he was fired from his job and imprisoned (1963). In 1966 his works were banned, and he was sent into exile. His testimony concerning apartheid helped win support for the ban against South Africa's participation in the 1970 Olympic Games. Brutus emigrated (1971) to the United States and taught at several American universities, including Northwestern (1971–85) and Pittsburgh (1986–2009), where he was professor emeritus. Most of Brutus's restrained yet emotional, beautifully crafted, and deeply personal poetry reflects his prison experiences, his struggle for justice, and the agony of political exile. Remaining an activist, Brutus in his later years opposed the practices of various world financial organizations and called for action against global warming. Brutus's first published volume of poetry was Sirens, Knuckles, Boots (1963); his others include Letters to Martha and Other Poems from a South African Prison (1969), A Simple Lust (1973), Stubborn Hope (1978), Salutes and Censures (1984), Airs and Tributes (1989), and Still the Sirens (1993).

See C. W. McLuckie and P. J. Colbert, ed., Critical Perspectives on Dennis Brutus (1995); A. Karim and L. Sustar, ed., Poetry & Protest: A Dennis Brutus Reader (2006); Dennis Brutus (National Public Radio recording, 1986).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Brutus, Dennis Vincent." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 19 May. 2019 <>.

"Brutus, Dennis Vincent." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (May 19, 2019).

"Brutus, Dennis Vincent." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.