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Angelina Weld Grimke
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Anne Spencer I
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Blanche Taylor Dickenson
Clarissa Scott Delany
Claude McKay I
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Countee Cullen I
Countee Cullen II
Elma Ehrlich Levinger
Georgia Douglas Johnson I
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Harlem Renaissance Poet Page
Countee Cullen I
By: Marshall Blessing
Countee Cullen was born on May 30,1903 and lived till January 9, 1946. Countee Cullen was born in Louisville Kentucky and died in New York. He was abandoned by his mother, but was later adopted at the age of 15 by Rev. F.A. Cullen. Cullen attended New York University, in 1923 he won an undergraduate poetry contest. Countee Cullen's first collection of poems titled "Color" was published in 1925. He then attended Harvard University and graduated with an Masters degree in 1926. He married Yolande Du Bois, but later got divorced. He married his second wife Yolande Du Bois in 1928.
Countee Cullen became an editor for
magazine in 1928. Cullen also traveled to France that same year. He studied in France under a
Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1934, Cullen started teaching in public schools and remained teaching until 1946, when he died. Cullen had a huge reputation, and he was a very well respected poet. He is mostly known for his poems
The Black Christ
(1927). He is also known for his novel
One Way to Heaven
(1932). Countee Cullen used his powerful style of writing to make a huge impact during the Harlem Renaissance.
From the Dark Tower
We shall not always plant while others reap
The golden increment of bursting fruit,
Not always countenance, abject and mute,
That lesser men should hold their brothers cheap
Not everlastingly while others
Shall we beguile their limbs with mellow flute,
Not always bend to some more subtle brute;
We were not made to eternally
The night whose sable breast relieves the stark,
White stars is no less lovely being dark,
And there are buds that cannot bloom at all
In light, but crumple, piteous, and fall;
So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds
And wait, and tend our agonizing
Reaction: This poem has a lot of deep meaning. I believe that "We shall not plant while others reap" is a metaphor for the conflict between the black and the white people. Saying that, black people wont be able to "grow" if white people keep "cutting" them down. He is saying that white people do not treat them very fairly and there is still racial tension.
Structure: The poem has a rhyme scheme where 2 lines rhyme and then one line doesnt. 1:2:1
Tone: It seems to have an assertive and angry tone.
Speaker: It seems like a leader of a black congregation is speaking to a group.
"Countee Cullen Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story - Biography.com ."
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. Encyclopædia Britannica, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012 <
"From the Dark Tower by Countée Cullen."
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