Harlem Renassainse poets
The Harlem Renaissance Poets:
Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen
May 29, 2013
Langston Hughes often referred to as the leader of the leader of the Harlem Renaissance or the father of Harlem Renaissance poetry. Pulling from major iconic influences such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Walk Whitman, and Carl Sandburg; who Langston Hughes referred to as, his “guiding star”, and was ultimately responsible Hughes’ use of free verse. With the completion of his first two books, The Weary Blues (1926) and Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927), Langston Hughes earned his place as a major driving force of the Harlem Renaissance (Rampersad, 2013). One of ...view middle of the document...
” That Du Bois explained this as is when a person’s “sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” As an example to explain double consciousness, Du Bois used an African American. An African American is described as both an American and a Negro, with two opposing ideals in “one dark body”, and having two souls and two thoughts.(Bois, 1903)
Evidence of double consciousness can be observed in Langston Hughes’ poem “The Negro River Speaks”, and the article titled “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”. In “The Negro River Speaks”, the African American people is viewed as a whole when referred to as a people that can no longer be deprived of their history. The history that is being referred to is the undeniable fact of the rich Egyptian connection to the African American race. More specifically pertaining to double consciousness, Langston Hughes illustrates that African Americans have two identities which they have accepted, but to European Americans’ unwillingness to accept their “identity” there will continuously be conflict within the society.
Countee Cullen’s poem “Heritage” displays “double-consciousness” and is described as a bit of a “love/hate relationship. While showing the pride (he should have) in the blood he has running in his veins from his ancestors, there is a sense of confusion, but still a yearning to be from the free from the subjugation brought about by the color of his skin, and as the poem continues, Cullen expresses how his boredom continues to grow as well. (Kirby, 2013) This is evident in the lines that state:
“Dear distress, and joy allied,
Is my somber flesh and skin,
With the dark blood dammed within
Like great pulsing tides of wine
That, I fear, must burst the fine
Channels of the chafing net
Where they surge and foam and fret.
Africa? A book one thumbs
Listlessly, till slumber comes.” (Cullen, 2013)
The Harlem Renaissance poets tend to follow a trend of the current issues of that time and had a major focus on...