Claude McKay

(822 words)
  • Jacob Zumoff

Festus Claudius McKay was born the youngest of eleven children in Claredon Hills, Jamaica, on 15 September 1890. For the next six years, McKay lived with his parents, Thomas Francis McKay and Hannah Ann Elizabeth Edwards, who were farmers. He was then sent to live with his older brother, Uriah Theodore, a school teacher and Anglican lay preacher. Under his brother's guidance, McKay began to read and write poetry. Walter Jekyll, an Englishman living in Jamaica (who owned an extensive library), took an interest in McKay's poetry and later became McKay's patron. With Jekyll's encouragement, McKay soon published two books of dialect poetry, Songs of Jamaica (1911) and Constab Ballads (1912).

In 1912, McKay …

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Zumoff, Jacob. "Claude McKay". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 September 2006
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. African American Poetry
  2. The Sonnet Tradition