Countee Cullen

(3403 words)
  • Jane Kuenz (University of Southern Maine)

When he published his first collection of poetry in 1925 at the age of twenty-two, Countee Cullen was already the most famous Black writer in America, known for his elegant constructions and ironic wit in poems that expressed both the frustrations and aspirations of a rising class of educated African Americans. For many, Color confirmed the early promise signaled by a series of poetry prizes and publications just as they believed it prefigured Cullen’s further rise to prominence as a major poet in the movement to showcase African-American literature, art, and music now known as the Harlem Renaissance. At the height of this movement in the mid-1920s, Cullen’s celebrity as “the New Negro Poet Laureate” was …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Kuenz, Jane. "Countee Cullen". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 August 2011
[, accessed 06 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. African American Poetry