Essay about Harlem Renaissance Poets: Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes

Essay about Harlem Renaissance Poets: Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes

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Right after the World War I, the majority of African Americans moved from South to the North of the United States. New economic and artistic opportunities led them to create and identify themselves in their own culture and heritage. This movement is well-known as the Harlem renaissance. It was accompanied by new lifestyle, music styles, and plenty of talented writers. This paper discusses two poems from this period: Heritage, written by Countee Cullen, and The Weary Blues, written by Langston Hughes.
There is a lot of mystery about the early life of Countee Cullen. He was adopted at age fifteen, and liked a singing of his adopting mother. According to Nelson (2000), that might be the reason why Cullen perceived poetry as muse-song. His role within the Harlem Renaissance was very significant. He was inspired by American black life and had written in conventional writing style. Through his work he remained in a sense of double-consciousness, “the very term African American” (Sayre, 2012).
Langston Hughes was one of the most productive writers of the Harlem renaissance, and one of the few artists of the movement who achieved fame and recognition (Kelley, Bloom, 2010). He enriched the circles of the Harlem renaissance not only by his poetry but also essays, short stories, novels, plays, autobiographies, and lyrics of blues and jazz. His poems have simple structure. Comparing to Cullen, whose poems were more conventional, Hughes wrote his poems in more intellectual way. Many of them incorporate elements from songs and sermons.
The poem Heritage is part of the Cullen’s first book of poems called Color. It describes the image of Africa in Cullen’s imagination, the split of self into a pagan and Christian (often refer...


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...nt was the main consequence of the slavery. In the Heritage it may be seen in lines sixty four through sixty seven. In The Weary Blues these scenes are evoked by the words as poor, sad, melancholy, nobody, ma troubles, can’t be satisfied, I ain’t happy no mo’, or I wish that I had died.




Works Cited

Kelley, J. B., & Bloom, H. (2010). Bloom's How to Write About Langston Hughes. Chelsea House Publishers.
Nelson, E. S. (2000). African American Authors, 1745-1945 : Bio-bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Powers, P. (2000). 'The Singing Man Who Must be Reckoned With': Private Desire and Public Responsibility in the Poetry of Countee Cullen. African American Review, 34(4), 661.
Sayre, H. M. (2012). The Humanities: Culture, continuity and change, Volume 2. (2nd ed.). (2011 Custom Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

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