Harlem Renaissance Poetry

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Harlem Renaissance Poetry

Harlem Renaissance Poetry


The period of Harlem Renaissance i.e. from 1919 till 1940 included a number of outstanding writers and features which headed towards a magnificent accumulation of literary efforts by African American authors. There was an unprecedented scope and variety of publications by these writers which gave rise to a new sense of achievement, confidence, and purpose unusual to numerous black artists by reason of their disturbed and distressed history.


Claude McKay and Langston Hughes's Importance and Role within the Harlem Renaissance

Claude McKay was a one of the most influential figures of the Harlem Renaissance. McKay's literary heritage is comprehensive and versatile: militant poems dealing with the American white authorities, vernacular poems adoring and praising life of peasants in Jamaica, truthful and genuine stories of black life in Jamaica and America, and, eventually, philosophical reflections and manifestations on the conception of “double consciousness,” which was the foundation stone of the attempts of black persons to survive in a society full of racial discrimination. The poet's writings turn into his disapproval for bias and racism, which makes its supporters miserable and loathsome.

One of most influential poem by Claude McKay, "Harlem Shadows" originates from one of his poetry volumes which is also named as "Harlem Shadows". Published in 1922, this poem kicked off the new defiant and angry attitude in the writing of African-Americans toward racial intolerance and discrimination. This entire poetry volume turned out to be the catalyst for the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance and also started McKay's approach of penning down humanist poetry surrounded by a racial background. Nothing like Langston Hughes' propensity to bring disgrace and embarrassment upon racial discrimination, McKay's intense imagery and harsh language demands esteem for African-Americans."Harlem Shadows," the title of the poem represents the indifference, ignorance, and blindness of the white society to the ...
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