Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Poets and Poems: Claude McKay and “Harlem Shadows”

At 22, Claude McKay (1889-1948) published his first book, Songs of Jamaica., reflections of Black life in the country told in dialect. It was 1912. The stipend from an award for the book helped him to travel to the United States, where McKay wanted to study modern agricultural practices and bring them back to his country. He briefly attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama before landing at the University of Kansas. During the next two years, the pull of words changed his focus. By 1914, McKay knew he was a poet. 


In 1922, now living in New York, McKay published a collection of poems entitled Harlem Shadows. It was one of the early literary productions of what would come to be known as the Harlem Renaissance, the gathering of poets, writers, musicians, and artists from the late 1910s to the 1930s that included Zora Neale HurstonLangston HughesAlain LockeHubert Harrison, and many, many others. 


To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.


No comments: