Countee Cullen

Jane Kuenz (University of Southern Maine)
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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,

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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 unmatched, even by his closest rival, Langston Hughes, though he was not able…

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Citation: Kuenz, Jane. "Countee Cullen". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 August 2011 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=1088, accessed 28 May 2024.]

1088 Countee Cullen 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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