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Sat, 05.30.1903

Countee Cullen, poet and publisher

Countee Cullen

*Countee Cullen was born on this date in 1903. He was an African American poet and prominent member of the Harlem Renaissance society.

From New York City, he was essentially a lyric poet whose work was influenced by that of the English poet John Keats.  Much of Cullen's best work dealt with themes pertinent to the lives of Black Americans, but without emphasizing dialect or stereotypes; he perceived art as universal. His several volumes of poetry include Color; Copper Sun; The Black Christ and On These I Stand, his selection of poems by which he wished to be remembered.

Cullen also wrote a novel dealing with life in Harlem, One Way to Heaven (his only novel) 1932 and a children's book, The Lost Zoo, 1940. On these I stand 1947, The Media and Some Poems 1935, a collection of sonnets and short lyrics together with a translation of Euripide's tragedy, My Lives and How I Lost Them 1942, and plays St. Louis Woman 1946, publ. 1971, which ran briefly on Broadway, and The Third Fourth of July publ. 1946.

Countee Cullen died on January 9th 1946.

Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History
Volume 1, ISBN #0-02-897345-3, Pg 175
Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith, Cornel West

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