Download the book Volunteers bring you 20 recordings of The Pool by Paul Laurence Dunbar. This was the Weekly Poetry project for May 20, 2012. Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906) was an African American poet, novelist, and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Much of his popular work in his lifetime used a Negro dialect, which helped him become one of the first nationally-accepted African American writers. Much of his writing, however, does not use dialect; these more traditional poems have become of greater interest to scholars.